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Last Updated: Friday, 24 August 2007, 22:34 GMT 23:34 UK
NFL star admits dog fight charges
Michael Vick
Michael Vick could face up to five years in jail
National Football League star Michael Vick has pleaded guilty to plotting to take part in dog fighting.

The Atlanta Falcons quarterback was accused of helping to run an interstate dog-fighting operation, known as "Bad Newz Kennels", from 2001 to April 2007.

His lawyers accepted a plea agreement after his co-defendants agreed to co-operate with prosecutors.

Vick, 27, who faces a maximum five years in jail, has now been suspended indefinitely without pay by the NFL.

The quarterback, who could also be fined up to $250,000 (125,000), is likely to face a reduced punishment because of his guilty plea.

Prosecutors said the dogs sometimes fought to the death and underperforming animals had been shot, drowned, hanged, electrocuted or killed by being slammed to the ground.

Dog-fight paraphernalia

Vick, who is expected to formally enter his plea on Monday, reportedly admitted bankrolling the fights but denied gambling on them.

Two of Vick's co-accused, Purnell Peace and Quanis Phillips, both pleaded guilty earlier this month.

The Associated Press news agency quoted a summary of facts in the case as recording: "Vick agrees and stipulates that these dogs all died as a result of the collective efforts of Peace, Phillips and Vick."

Police who searched Vick's property in April found pit bull dogs and dog-fighting paraphernalia.

The football star, who signed a 10-year, $130mn (65mn) contract with the Falcons in 2004, last season became the first quarterback ever to rush for more than 1,000 yards.

An NFL statement released on Friday read: "Commissioner Roger Goodell notified Falcons QB (quarterback) Michael Vick on Friday that he is suspended indefinitely without pay from the National Football League, effective immediately."

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