Chad Johnson blows plea deal after butt-slapping lawyer in court
During the hearing, Broward County Circuit Judge Kathleen McHugh and Johnson’s lawyer Adam Swickle were about to finalize the terms of Johnson’s sentence for a probation violation in a domestic violence case, that original stemmed from an incident with his ex-wife. Johnson had reached a deal with the prosecutors that would keep him out of jail by instead calling for community service and counseling as part of the sentence. Broward County Circuit Judge Kathleen McHugh said she would add a further three month’s probations since Johnson had failed to meet with his probation officer over the last three months.
All seemed set to go in Johnson’s favor, but the plea deal fell apart on the last minute when a playful gesture landed Johnson in trouble with the Judge. She initially asked Johnson if he was satisfied by his lawyer and Johnson slapped his attorney on the behind – as football players usually do to each other on the field. Johnson’s actions drew laughter from the entire court room, except Judge Kathleen McHugh, who held Johnson in contempt for disrespecting her courtroom and outright rejected the plea deal.
“I don’t know that you’re taking this whole thing seriously. I just saw you slap your attorney on the backside. Is there something funny about this?” said Judge McHugh. “The whole courtroom was laughing. I’m not going to accept these plea negotiations. This isn’t a joke.”
The 35-year-old Johnson tried to apologize to the Judge and insisted his actions meant no disrespect to anyone.
“This is your courtroom. I have no intent to make this a joke. It’s not funny,” Johnson addressed the Judge. “My life is in a shambles right now and I try my best to laugh and keep a smile on my face.”
Johnson had been on probation after he previously pleaded no contest to head-butting his then wife, reality TV star Evelyn Lozada during a domestic dispute in August. Lozada quickly filed for divorce just one month into the marriage and Johnson was released by the Miami Dolphins before even playing a game for the team last August.
But McHugh felt no pity for Johnson and despite defense lawyer Adam Swickle’s attempts to make her reconsider the plea deal, she decided to make an example out of him.
Johnson was immediately handcuffed and sent off to jail on a 30-day sentence. Swickle declined to comment whether he would make a case for a reduced sentence for his client.
The recent legal development will put another setback on Johnson’s plans to make an NFL comeback after he remained out of football last season.
Johnson, who is currently a free agent, caught 766 passes for 11,059 yards and 62 touchdowns during his 12-year career in NFL. The former second-round pick mostly played for the Cincinnati Bengals, while appearing in a single season for the New England Patriots.