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Published: Friday, 9/22/2006

Clarett apology to victims, fans is read in court

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Maurice Clarett Maurice Clarett
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COLUMBUS - Former Ohio State football star Maurice Clarett has apologized in more detail to two people he robbed, writing in a statement that he never meant to hurt them.

Clarett's attorney read the apology Wednesday when Franklin County Common Pleas Judge David Fais called Clarett back to court to clarify his appellate and constitutional rights. Judge Fais said he had forgotten to do so when he sentenced Clarett to at least 3 1/2 years in prison Monday on charges of aggravated robbery and carrying a concealed weapon.

Judge Fais also had forgotten to give Clarett credit for 44 days already served in jail, he said.

Robbery victims Lucas Nyarko and Tywona Douglas were not in court when attorney Michael Hoague read the apology.

"I want to express my sincere apology to Mr. Nyarko and Ms. Douglas for my inexcusable behavior on New Year's Day. I can assure them that I never intended to cause them harm in any way. What I did was wrong and I accept my punishment," Mr. Hoague read from Clarett's statement.

Authorities said Clarett flashed a gun and robbed Mr. Nyarko and Ms. Douglas of a cell phone early Jan. 1 outside a Columbus bar.

The concealed weapon charge was from his Aug. 9 arrest after a highway chase with police who found four loaded guns in Clarett's sport utility vehicle after they spiked the tires.

The court appearance Wednesday did not change the outcome of Monday's sentencing. Clarett, 22, was sentenced to 7 1/2 years in prison with possible release in 3 1/2 years after pleading guilty to the two charges. He also will serve five years of probation.

Clarett apologized to his family and former teammates, coaches, and fans in the statement.

"I look forward to putting this matter behind me and to showing the court and the community that I have learned from this terrible mistake and will strive to lead a law-abiding and productive life from here on out," it said.



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