Posted Jan 14 2010 7:16PM
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Suspended Washington Wizards star guard Gilbert Arenas faces a felony charge of unlawful gun possession after bringing four weapons into the locker room of the NBA club last month.
Arenas was charged Thursday with carrying a pistol without a license outside a home or business, a felony that carries a maximum five years in jail and a fine.
The charges were filed by the US Attorney's office for the District of Columbia and Arenas is expected to appear in Superior Court on Friday.
Lawyers for Arenas had been in negotiations with prosecutors for a plea deal that might keep Arenas out of jail, according to the Washington Post, but it was not immediately known if the charge was part of any arrangement.
"We are aware of the charge filed against Gilbert Arenas and will continue to follow the ongoing legal process very carefully," the Wizards said in a statement.
"We will also continue to cooperate fully with the proper authorities and the NBA."
In the charges, prosecutors said that on December 21 Arenas "did carry, openly and concealed on or about his person, in a place other than his dwelling place, place of business or on other land possessed by him, a pistol, without license issued pursuant to law."
Arenas and teammate Javaris Crittenton argued after a card game last month and Crittenton said he should shoot Arenas in his surgically repaired left knee, only to have Arenas bring four guns to the locker room a few days later and put them on a chair next to Crittenton's locker with a note saying "Pick one", according to the Post.
A grand jury was convened last week but the charges filed Thursday came from prosecutors and not from an indictment as a result of the investigation, a potential sign of a plea deal.
Wizards coach Flip Saunders, team president Ernie Grunfeld and eight Wizards players have been interviewed by the grand jury or spoken with authorities.
Police searched Crittenton's apartment early Thursday morning.
NBA commissioner David Stern suspended Arenas indefinitely without pay on January 6. An NBA investigation that could bring more suspensions and fines could come in the next week.
Arenas missed most of the past two seasons with knee injuries and had hoped for a breakout comeback season. Instead, the team has pulled his image from an arena banner and a pre-game video and stopped displaying his No. 0 (zero) jersey.
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