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September 14, 2014

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Former All-Pro running back reaches plea deal in domestic violence case

Larry Johnson

Larry Johnson

Former NFL running back Larry Johnson pleaded no contest today to misdemeanor domestic violence assault and battery charges in an encounter last year at a Las Vegas Strip resort with a former girlfriend.

The plea in Las Vegas Township Justice Court came as part of a deal with Clark County prosecutors, who dropped a felony charge against Johnson.

The former Kansas City Chiefs running back was ordered to pay a $345 fine, undergo 26 weeks of counseling and perform 48 hours of community service, said Johnson's attorney Greg Knapp.

Johnson was arrested in October 2012 after the ex-girlfriend, a 32-year-old, woke up in a hallway of the Bellagio, bruised and clad only in her underwear and a see-through top. The woman’s recollection of the incident was fuzzy, but she remembered meeting Johnson in his room at the hotel and him becoming outraged to the point of beating her and throwing her across the room, according to a Metro Police report.

The woman told police she remembered Johnson choking her and that during the assault she managed to say, “If you’re going to kill me, squeeze harder and just do it,” before blacking out.

Johnson told hotel security the woman wouldn’t press charges and it would be the “same as last time,” according to the police report.

Johnson was pleased with the outcome of the case and is taking the situation seriously, Knapp said.

“With the felony aspect of it, the gamble of prison is very scary,” Knapp said, noting that Johnson was looking forward to moving on with his life at his home in Florida and caring for his 3-year-old daughter.

Knapp said Johnson was appreciative the court didn’t try to make an example out of him because of his notoriety.

“In the overall scheme of things, I think he was handled fairly and appropriately and everyone took care of this the right way,” Knapp said.

This is not the first time the former football star had been accused of having anger issues.

The Chiefs released Johnson from his contract after he sent out a series of offensive tweets, including a gay slur aimed at a fan, in October 2009. He has been arrested several times in the past on charges of assault on women but was not convicted, according to published reports.

The victim told police that there had been multiple similar incidents in the past, including once at the Wynn Hotel.

The Chiefs drafted Johnson out of Penn State University in the first round of the 2003 NFL Draft. He played for four teams during his career, most recently with the Miami Dolphins in 2011. An All-American in college, Johnson also was a two-time All-Pro with the Chiefs and led the AFC in rushing in 2005.

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