Ex-NBA star Jayson Williams to face NYC DWI case; he’s in NJ prison after shooting limo driver

Friday, August 20, 2010

Ex-NBA star Jayson Williams to face NYC DWI case

NEW YORK — Jayson Williams is already in prison for accidentally killing a limo driver, but the former NBA star still is contending with another criminal case.

Williams has a Manhattan court date Friday in a drunken-driving case stemming from a car wreck a week before his January guilty plea in the driver’s 2002 death.

The former New Jersey Nets player has pleaded not guilty to driving while intoxicated.

His lawyers didn’t immediately return calls Thursday. One of them, Oscar Holt III, told the Daily News earlier this week that Williams wants to put the DWI case behind him so he “can continue to work on changing the course of his life.”

Williams, who retired from basketball in 2000, had a blood-alcohol level more than twice the legal limit after his Mercedes-Benz SUV crashed into a tree around 3 a.m. on Jan. 5 near a Manhattan highway, prosecutors said.

Police found him sitting in the passenger seat. He told them someone else was driving and had left, but prosecutors have said surveillance video and witnesses establish he had been alone in the car.

If convicted, the 42-year-old Williams could face up to a year in jail after the five-year prison sentence he is serving in New Jersey, where he pleaded guilty to aggravated assault for fatally shooting driver Costas Christofi.

Williams said his double-barreled 12-gauge shotgun went off while he was showing it to friends. He acknowledged he hadn’t checked the safety mechanism.

Williams played nine seasons with the Philadelphia 76ers and the Nets before a leg injury forced his retirement. He was in the second year of a six-year, $86 million contract with the Nets.

He became an NBA analyst for NBC but was suspended after the shooting.

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