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Ex-FSU Kicker Janikowski Acquitted

June 13, 2000

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) _ Former Florida State kicker Sebastian Janikowski was acquitted Tuesday on bribery charges.

A jury of four men and two women returned the verdict after deliberating less than an hour. The 22-year-old top draft pick of the Oakland Raiders was accused of offering a Tallahassee police officer $300 outside a night spot earlier this year to release his roommate, who had been arrested after getting into an argument with a bouncer who refused to let him in.

Janikowski, a big part in Florida’s State’s national title season in 1999, kicked 50 field goals for the Seminoles in two years, and many of his kickoffs flew through the end zone. He was the 17th overall pick in the NFL draft, the first kicker to be chosen in the first round since New Orleans selected Russell Erxleben of Texas with the 11th pick in 1979.

Janikowski looked relieved as he and his father, Henryk, left the courtroom and headed to attorney Steve Dobson’s office.

The kicker leaves early Wednesday for Oakland to begin early workouts with the Raiders.

The defense argued Janikowski, a Polish native who began speaking English six years ago, simply thought he was paying his roommate’s fine.

Janikowski faced up to five years in prison, a $5,000 fine and possible deportation if convicted.

Assistant state attorney Lee Jantzen called two witnesses, including arresting officer Chris Knight, who has since left the city police force, but was working off duty Jan. 22 as a bouncer at the club.

Knight was once reprimanded in his police career for telling two subjects they had no rights during an arrest, co-counsel Deeno Kitchen said.

Janikowski, who had one year eligibility remaining when he decided to turn pro, did not return to school after Florida State won the national championship on Jan. 4, with a 46-29 victory over Virginia Tech in the Sugar Bowl.

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