Mariotti Plea Bargains, Remains Benched By ESPN

Today in Los Angeles Superior Court, ESPN Around the Horn commentator and AOL Fanhouse columnist Jay Mariotti pleaded no contest, which has the effect of a guilty plea, to a misdemeanor charge of domestic violence against his girlfriend in exchange for the L.A. City Attorney dropping six additional charges against him stemming from his August 21 domestic violence arrest in Los Angeles.

Jay Mariotti

In other words, Mariotti did not contest that he committed domestic violence against his girlfriend on the night in question.

Mariotti’s attorney Nick Hanna said of the plea bargain, “Today’s resolution — a no contest plea to a low-level misdemeanor with all of the other charges dismissed — ends the matter once and for all.

An L.A. law enforcement source very familiar with the case told me today that Hanna’s comment was a misrepresentation of the seriousness of the charge that Mariotti did not contest.

Jay Mariotti Criminal Complaint

You can read about the extent of the charges against Mariotti in the original criminal complaint filed by the L.A. City Attorney here.

Mariotti’s plea bargain means he’ll avoid jail time, instead being sentenced to 40 hours community service and three years probation. Mariotti must also complete a one-year domestic violence course and is forbidden from contacting or being in the vicinity of the victim.

ESPN Spokesman Josh Krulewitz said today of Mariotti’s status with the network: “We have no plans to use him (Mariotti) at this time.

Since today’s plea deal, AOL has yet to comment on Mariotti’s status with the company.

Mariotti attorney Hanna also added of his client:

“Jay regrets having put himself in a position to have a public argument with his female companion, and was simply attempting to get her home safely. While he is deeply saddened by how this was portrayed, he is wiser for having lived through it.”

Not exactly a contrite representation of his client in the wake of an effective guilty plea to a domestic violence charge.

If Mariotti was “deeply saddened” by his portrayal by law enforcement and the L.A. City Attorney, why didn’t he fight to completely clear his name - which would’ve surely given him a much better job to get his job back?

I talked to two plugged-in ESPN sources today about Mariotti’s future with the company. Both indicated they didn’t think Mariotti would retain his position with the company, including Mariotti’s planned foray as an ESPN L.A. radio morning personality.