Work in Sports
Lewis proclaims his innocence
Posted: Thursday February 17, 2000 07:37 PM
OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) -- Ray Lewis, speaking publicly Thursday for the first time since he was charged with murder Jan. 31, said he was innocent and expressed sympathy for the two victims' families.
"I am very sorry about the tragedy that occurred in Atlanta," the Baltimore linebacker said at the Ravens' training camp. "My sympathy goes out to the family and the friends of both of the men that died."
"You've heard it many times before. Now you get to hear it from me: I am innocent," Lewis said.
He returned to Maryland on Wednesday from Atlanta, where he was charged with killing two men after a Super Bowl party earlier that day.
Lewis read a brief statement that was approved by his lawyers and refused to answer any questions.
"I've been ordered by the court that I can't speak about the case; so, I won't," Lewis said. "All I can do is sit back and wait for justice to take its course and everything else to take it's natural course. But I'm looking forward to the day all the facts come out, everything is out in front and my name is cleared."
Lewis left the building and the complex immediately after speaking and drove straight to his home a few miles away.
Ravens officials said neither Lewis nor any member of the team would talk about the case again.
Lewis was released from an Atlanta jail Tuesday on $1 million bail.
The bond requires Lewis to stay in Maryland unless he is traveling to Georgia for court appearances or to meet with his lawyers. It doesn't permit him to visit Florida, where his fiancee and two of his children live.
Ravens owner Art Modell, who went to Atlanta to testify for Lewis during Monday's bond hearing, also was present during Lewis' statement, but did not speak.
Ravens coach Brian Billick said Lewis remains a member of the team.
Lewis, 24, and two companions are charged in the stabbing deaths of two men during a brawl outside an Atlanta nightclub.
Lewis, Joseph Sweeting, 34, of Miami, and Reginald Oakley, 31, of Baltimore, were indicted Friday in the deaths of Richard Lollar, 24, and Jacinth Baker, 21, who were stabbed during a 4 a.m. fight outside an Atlanta nightclub.
Lewis' lawyers say he tried to stop the fight and that he was at least 60 feet away when Lollar and Baker were stabbed. Police say Lewis drove away in a limousine and later lied when they tried to determine who was in his entourage.