DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM/AP) – An attorney handling Johnny Manziel’s domestic violence case expressed doubts about the Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback’s ability to stay clean and said he was given a receipt that shows Manziel may have spent more than $1,000 at a drug paraphernalia store just 15 hours after he was involved in a hit-and-run crash, according to a lengthy text message accidentally sent to The Associated Press.
Defense attorney Bob Hinton’s text indicated Manziel’s legal team was seeking a plea deal with prosecutors, but suggested that could be tricky.
“Heaven help us if one of the conditions is to pee in a bottle,” the attorney wrote.
Hinton also wrote that he had been emailed a “heads up” receipt “which purports to reflect” that Manziel made a purchase of $1,018.77 at a Gas Pipe store at 12:03 p.m. on Tuesday, less than a day after his crash. A manager at a Gas Pipe location not far from where Manziel’s crash was reported declined to discuss whether he bought anything there. A sign in the store says ID is required for purchases above $200.
“I don’t know if the receipt is legitimate or not,” Hinton responded when asked about it by the AP. “I just know that it doesn’t say Johnny’s name on it anywhere that I can see. It’s just that somebody in that store, I guess, circulated that to the other store managers and employees saying, ‘Guess who was here today and spent this amount of money.’ That’s all I know.”
The errant text was sent Wednesday after the AP sought comment via text about Monday night’s crash.
When asked about the text, Hinton said he had meant to send it to another attorney on the case and was unaware the AP had received it instead. He insisted the contents were protected by attorney-client privilege and threatened to sue if certain details were published.
The text shows that Manziel’s attorneys are pushing for leniency, even as they grapple with indications he could still be struggling with substance abuse more than a year after his stay in a rehab center. The charges the former Cleveland Browns quarterback is facing come amid heightened scrutiny of legal cases involving professional athletes following domestic violence accusations against NFL players Ray Rice and Greg Hardy.
The Heisman Trophy winner and former Texas A&M star was indicted by a grand jury in April after his ex-girlfriend said he hit her and threatened to kill her during a night out in January.
Colleen Crowley has said that Manziel forced her into a car at a Dallas hotel and struck her several times as they traveled to Fort Worth.
A police report said that, after being punched, Crowley temporarily lost hearing in one ear.
Manziel faces a Class A misdemeanor that carries up to one year in jail and a $4,000 fine.
Manziel made his first court appearance in Dallas on May 5 after his indictment in a domestic violence case. The 23-year-old former Cleveland Browns quarterback was given the conditions of his release.
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