UPDATED 6:12 P.M.
Washington Wizards star Gilbert Arenas will not serve jail time for felony gun possession but will serve 30 days in a halfway house and two years probation, Superior Court Judge Robert Morin has ruled.
“I’d like to say, I’m really sorry this happened, and I wake up every day wishing it didn’t,” Arenas said to Morin. By way of explaining his infamous guns-a-blazin’ gesture in Philadelphia, Arenas said, “I like to make people to laugh. I like to make people smile.”
In his remarks to Arenas, Morin said: “You were genuinely remorseful and you get it.”
The judge went on to state his opinion that Arenas was unlikely to re-offend before offering his sentence: 18 months suspended, two years probation, 30 days in a halfway house, 400 hours of community service, $5,000 to a crime victims compensation fund, and inclusion in the D.C. gun-offender registry.
Under the charges he faced, Arenas could have received as much as six months behind bars; prosecutors recommended no less than three months of hard time.
Arenas arrived in court wearing a dark suit with yellow pinstripe shirt. While he ambled into the courtroom smiling, correspondent Rend Smith reports, he struck a humble look as he stood before the judge.
During the proceedings, which lasted some 90 minutes, prosecutor Christopher Kavanaugh reiterated arguments he’d presented in a pre-sentencing brief—-that Arenas had shown little remorse and that he needed to be punished for his crimes like any other citizen.
Arenas’ attorney, former U.S. Attorney Kenneth Wainstein, spoke at great length, the bulk of the hearing in fact, describing how the Wizards star has comported himself since the Dec. 21 incident. As evidence that no real animus lay under the gun incident, Wainstein noted that Arenas has been in regular contact with reserve guard Javaris Crittenton—-calling him 19 times and sending him 119 text messages. And on March 16, said Wainstein, Arenas wired $30,000 to Crittenton for his mother’s throat surgery.
UPDATE, 6:12 P.M.: A statement from Wainstein: “We are very gratified with the outcome of today’s sentencing proceeding. Judge Morin’s decision was fair and measured; it reflected a deep understanding of the relevant facts and equities; and it carefully took into account both the facts relating to Mr. Arenas’ offense and the evidence of Mr. Arenas’ good character. The result was a sentence that serves justice very well. Mr. Arenas is grateful to the Court, and looks forward to serving the community and once again being a force for good in the District of Columbia.”
On-the-scene reporting by Rend Smith