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Most lawyers agree Albert unlikely to face jail time

October 23, 1997

ARLINGTON, Va. (AP) _ Marv Albert couldn’t keep his job or his dignity after his sexual assault trial bared seamy details of his sex life, but he might keep himself out of jail by apologizing to the woman he attacked and seeking counseling, defense lawyers said.

The former NBC sportscaster could be locked away for as long as a year when he is sentenced Friday. He pleaded guilty to one count of assault and battery.

Virginia defense lawyers and even a sheriff’s deputy say it is unlikely that Albert will do time for the misdemeanor. But nothing is certain, they warn, and the sentence could be affected by the words and deeds of Albert and his accuser, Vanessa Perhach.

Last month, Albert’s plea abruptly ended two days of humiliating testimony from Perhach and another woman. Both revealed kinky details about Albert’s fondness for three-way sex and wearing women’s underwear.

Perhach, 42, said Albert became angry because she refused his request that another man join them for sex in his room at a luxury hotel near the Pentagon on Feb. 12. She said he threw her onto a bed, savagely bit her back and forced her to give him oral sex.

Hours after his plea, NBC fired the 56-year-old Albert and he resigned from his longtime job as announcer for basketball’s New York Knicks and hockey’s New York Rangers.

Perhach said then that she felt vindicated by Albert’s plea and did not want him to go to jail, but has since changed her mind. In a story published Sunday in the New York Post, Perhach said Albert deserves to go to jail because he has not apologized to her.

``I am angry now,″ the newspaper quoted her as saying. ``He’s as arrogant as ever. I really don’t care what happens to him. If he goes to jail _ oh, well!″

She told the newspaper she had expressed her outrage in a ``victim-impact statement″ sent to Arlington Circuit Judge Benjamin N.A. Kendrick. She said she will attend the hearing and could testify against Albert, who was her lover for 10 years.

Perhach did not respond this week to requests for comment left with her attorney and at her home in Vienna, Va.

``Certainly he should apologize to the victim. He has pleaded guilty to a criminal offense,″ said Blair Howard, the Virginia lawyer who defended Lorena Bobbitt three years ago in nearby Manassas on charges she cut off her husband’s penis.

By entering the plea, Albert avoided a possible forcible sodomy conviction, which has a maximum sentence of life in prison. Prosecutors agreed at that time not to make a sentence recommendation to Kendrick.

Kendrick can sentence Albert to the full 12 months in jail, a shorter time behind bars, or no time at all. He could put Albert on probation on the condition that he obtain counseling or perform community service. He can also fine Albert up to $2,500.

``He doesn’t have any other record, so it’s very unlikely he would get any jail time. It’s a probation case,″ said Mike Raffo, chief deputy sheriff in Arlington.

Albert’s own actions and words could influence the sentence, said Greg Murphy, who defended John Bobbitt on charges that he abused his wife.

``He needs to acknowledge he has a problem and get some help. That will go a long way″ to convincing the judge Albert is sincere, Murphy said.

If Albert does time, it will be in a room to himself for his own safety at Arlington’s new 509-bed lockup, Raffo said. ``He would be a target (for harassment or violence) because he is high-profile.″

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