A top US lawyer has explained the potential repercussions for Conor McGregor after the Irish fighter was charged with three counts of assault and one count of criminal mischief in New York.
Last week, the MMA world watched on in disbelief as Conor McGregor was escorted out the doors of a New York Police Department in handcuffs.
The Notorious had turned himself in after some shocking footage spread around the globe of the 29-year-old and a group of men viciously attacking a bus filled with UFC fighters at the Barclays Centre in New York.
Moments after McGregor and his entourage had carried out the deplorable assault, UFC President Dana White strongly condemned the promotion’s biggest star while also surmising that McGregor is going to face an unfathomable amount of civil suits.
This is the most disgusting that has ever happened in the history of the company… He’s going to be sued beyond belief and this was a real bad career move for him.
Although civil suits are undoubtedly going to sting McGregor far worse than he could have possibly fathomed following the UFC 223 media event, a US attorney has now explained how bad things could get for the Irishman as a result of the criminal charges.
Speaking to Dublin Live (quotes transcribed per The Irish Mirror), US Lawyer Dmitriy Shakhnevich (formerly of the District Attorney’s Office in Brooklyn where McGregor is charged) explained how the ‘Notorious’ could face up to seven years in prison if he pleads ‘not guilty’ and the case goes to trial.
“Conor is charged with several felonies. In New York State, there are two levels of crimes: misdemeanors and felonies.
“Conor is charged with both, but the felony charges are a lot more severe, meaning the prosecution must impanel a Grand Jury and obtain an indictment against him before proceeding to trial.
“A Grand Jury is different than a trial jury. A Grand Jury determines if there’s enough evidence to proceed to trial.
“Felony cases are so severe that this extra layer of protection is put in place for criminal defendants.
“However, the standard to obtain an indictment is so low, that an indictment is virtually a given in this case.
“Then, once that happens and as the case progresses, the prosecution will have to turn over evidence to the defense attorneys in the case.
“At that point, and really throughout the duration of the case generally, plea negotiations will likely take place.”
Mr Shakhnevich went on to detail how things will likely unfold if McGregor’s legal team are unwilling to engage in plea negotiations.
“Then the case will be put down for Hearings and Trial. However, as with all cases in Brooklyn, that is highly unlikely.
“If Conor pleads ‘not guilty’, and refuses to engage in any plea negotiations, then the case will go to trial.
“If he’s convicted at trial, it’s entirely possible that he’ll be sentenced to jail time, particularly due to the felony charges.
“Something tells me a plea will be worked out in this case to avoid any such risks. If he pleads guilty, in my view, he will likely avoid jail time.”
“More importantly however, if he pleads guilty to something that leaves him with a criminal record, that can affect his ability to re-enter the US.
“Obviously, that’s hugely important because Conor makes his fortune fighting for an American company, with most of its shows in the US.”
In concluding, although Mr Shakhnevich had stated that McGregor could face some severe outcomes, he suspects that the Irishman will not end up behind bars and that his ability to travel to the states will also not be affected.
“In terms of jail time, it’s very highly unlikely that Conor will ever see any jail time in this case.”
“Nonetheless, Conor’s charges are severe. He’s charged with both the D and E felonies as it relates to Criminal Mischief.
“The E felony is 3rd degree Criminal Mischief, and that’s up to four years in New York State prison upon conviction at trial.
“The D felony is 2nd degree Criminal Mischief, and that subjects him to up to seven years in New York State prison upon conviction at trial.
“He could also serve up to a year on each misdemeanour charge. But courts typically sentence concurrently for these types of cases, not consecutively.
“That means he’d serve all the sentences at once. That being said, again, it’s highly unlikely that he’ll see any jail time at all. The immigration issue must be dealt with carefully, and I’m sure it will be because Conor has excellent lawyers.”