Plea bargains possible for Andy Reid's two sons

Posted: June 21, 2007

It was quite a scene as the shaggy-headed sons of Eagles football coach Andy Reid - looking ill at ease in suits - were summoned along with dozens of other defendants for a day of housekeeping in Courtroom Five of the Montgomery County Courthouse.

Judge Steven T. O'Neill, presiding over organized chaos, whipped through status reports on roughly 40 cases in under 25 minutes. He found out who needed an attorney, who planned to plead guilty, whose lawyers needed to meet with him in his private office. He also issued warrants for arrest of some defendants who didn't show up.

Britt and Garrett Reid, charged in connection with separate traffic incidents on the same day, Jan. 30, were in the Norristown courtroom for a second round of pre-trial conferences.

Garrett Reid, accused of running a red light in Plymouth Meeting and injuring a 55-year-old woman in the subsequent crash, was No. 13 in O'Neill's rapid parade of cases. Police have said he admitted using heroin earlier on the day of the accident. He is charged with misdemeanor drug and traffic offenses.

Britt Reid, who faces a felony weapons charge, as well as misdemeanor charges that include lying to authorities and drug possession, was No. 16 on the judge's run-through. Police have said he waved a handgun at another another driver in a road-rage encounter in West Conshohocken.

After getting a quick update of all cases - and then hearing three guilty pleas in drunk-driving arrests - O'Neill again took up the Reid cases.

He left the bench and went behind closed doors to confer with their lawyers and with attorneys for the state Attorney General's Office, which is prosecuting the cases.

The Reids themselves did not go into the judge's chambers. For almost 45 minutes, they sat alone on padded, plum-colored cushions at the end of the second row in the spectators' section. They were isolated as if by a force field. No one went near them. But as soon as either ventured into the hall, news cameras tracked their every footstep. Garrett Reid, at one point, asked for directions to the men's room, then turned on his heels and went back to his seat.

The pair, in their early 20s, have been under intense media scrutiny since their arrests made national news because of their famous father. Andy Reid took a month's leave of absence from the Eagles to pull his family together and to prepare his sons for what already has been a long slog through the courts.

After yesterday's private chit-chat with the lawyers, O'Neill returned to the bench and said that nothing had been settled.

He said he would schedule the cases for trial this summer or in September, but he said it was possible they could be resolved earlier by negotiated guilty pleas.

"It is understood there may certainly be entered a plea in this case," O'Neill said.

Afterward, in the hallway, one of the Reids' lawyers, Ross Weiss, said: "We really don't have anything to add to what the judge said."

Another, William J. Winning, said: "We're just continuing to try to get this resolved. The judge said it all."

Britt Reid is free on $100,000 bail; Garrett Reid, on $25,000 bail, a state official said.

As the Reids and their lawyers exited the building by a back door, the prosecutors walked upstairs to the main exit.

Mark Costanzo, an assistant attorney general, said state sentencing guidelines "call for jail time for both boys."

Asked if that meant he would press for them to go to jail, he replied: "We normally argue in every case that the judge should sentence within the guidelines."


Contact staff writer Tom Infield at 610-313-8205 or tinfield@phillynews.com.

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