BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — LSU starting quarterback Jordan Jefferson and three of his teammates have no immediate plans to talk to police about a bar fight that allegedly involved them, their attorney said Monday.
Police had asked Jefferson, along with offensive lineman Chris Davenport, defensive lineman Josh Johns and receiver Jarvis Landry, to offer their recollection of the fight to police Monday morning. However, that meeting was called off after Nathan Fisher, the attorney for the players, asked for a delay.
Police Sgt. Don Stone said investigators hoped the delay would be only 24 hours and the players would voluntarily submit to questioning on Tuesday morning. However, Fisher, a defense attorney with a history of representing LSU players, said he was “not aware of” any impending meeting between his clients and police.
“My clients have a right to not say anything,” Fisher said.
Stone said such delays are standard when people of interest in investigations hire attorneys. At this point, the players have not been charged or asked to turn themselves in, and do not have to meet with police at all, Stone said.
Stone also stressed that Police Chief Dewayne White is not giving LSU players any special treatment and the investigation of the fight will continue with or without players’ cooperation.
“These guys aren’t going anywhere, they’re not a flight risk. It’s not like we don’t know where they’re at,” Stone said. “If they don’t come in, it does not halt our investigation. It continues. It’s not like we’re sitting around waiting for them. We still have witnesses to interview. … And if it reaches the point to where the evidence supports the allegations, we’ll obtain arrest warrants for the persons responsible. And if it’s these four football players, they’ll be arrested and booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish jail.”
Based on the victims’ accounts and injuries, two players potentially could be charged with felony second-degree battery, while two others could be charged with misdemeanor simple battery, Stone said. Stone declined to specify which two players could face the more serious charges.
Witnesses have described one of the victims being kicked in the head while lying on the ground, Stone said. He declined to specify who did the kicking or who got kicked.
LSU practiced Monday evening, but university officials said none of the players who have been named in the investigation would be made available to the media. Players who did talk to reporters were instructed not to answer any questions about their memories of what happened at the bar not far from campus last Thursday night.
The players were out after a curfew imposed by the coaching staff when the fight took place. However, LSU athletics spokesman Michael Bonnette said players traditionally conclude fall camp, which this year ended last Thursday, by socializing together after curfew. Bonnette said that tradition has spanned the tenures of a number of coaches.
Nonetheless, coach Les Miles has said allegations surrounding he fight have made him “miserable,” and the entire team has been punished with additional conditioning during practice, such as running. Miles also said more punishment would be forthcoming as the facts of the investigation become more clear.
As of Monday night, though, no players had been suspended.
The fourth-ranked Tigers open the season against No. 3 Oregon on Sept. 3 at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Jefferson was expected to be the starting quarterback, but if he cannot play, senior Jarrett Lee would be the likely starter behind center, with junior college transfer Zach Mettenberger next in line.
Lee, who has been taking some snaps with the first team since before the alleged fracas, said there were not any substantial changes to the practice routine on Monday and that Jefferson continued to also receive his regular work with the starters.
“Nothing changed. Practice was the same. We had a great practice today,” Lee said. “All of us quarterbacks, we know to be good you have to prepare each and every day to be the starter, whether your opportunity comes or not, so we’re going to continue to work hard.”
“It’s an unfortunate situation,” Lee added. “You never want something like this to happen to your football team. We’re family. We’re a close-knit group. Things like this happen. … All the great teams have their ups and downs. It’s about how you bounce back and we’re going to stay positive and keep working hard.”
Lee, who has been teammates with Jefferson for the past three seasons, said he did not see any noticeable difference in Jefferson’s demeanor.
“He’s a great guy, great friend,” Lee said. “He’s still working hard, still practicing hard, still laughing in the film room.”
Stone said Jefferson, Davenport, Johns and Landry are currently the only people of interest in the case, but added that investigators are still interviewing witnesses and that more players could have been involved. Authorities have obtained security video from a business neighboring the bar, which is in a strip mall just south of campus. Stone declined to talk about what the video shows.
Fisher, meanwhile, said he did not want to discuss the facts of the case in the media. Fisher did say he believes Stone has made several inaccurate statements, but declined to specify.
Currently, police are aware of only four alleged victims whose names they have not released. The four were treated at a hospital and released. Three had minor injuries and a fourth had a more serious injury that would warrant the second-degree battery charges, Stone said.
The victims have hired an attorney, Michael Bienvenue, and have indicated they want to press charges, Stone said.
Bienvenue did not return a phone message left at his office.
© 2011 The Associated Press