Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Athlete out on Bail

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Athlete out on Bail

Article excerpt

A state judge on Friday agreed to reduce bail for a former Hackensack High School football star charged with attempted murder, lowering it from $500,000 to $85,000, citing an impressive array of letters attesting to his character and close ties to the community.

Ausar Walcott, 23, was cut by the Cleveland Browns a day after he was charged with critically injuring a 24-year-old New York City man outside the Palace Gentleman's Club in Passaic around 3 a.m. on June 23. The victim, attorneys said in court Friday, has been discharged from a hospital and is in a rehab center being treated for a brain injury.

In reducing the cash-only bail to $85,000, state Superior Court Judge Raymond A. Reddin in Paterson said he wasn't placing travel restrictions as a condition of bail, a condition common in serious charges.

"I know that the Browns have cut him," Reddin said, adding that if the team reconsiders, he wants Walcott to have the chance to attend training camp.

"I don't know if they will allow him that opportunity," Reddin said. "But if he had a chance to play in the NFL, I would hate to see him lose that chance if acquitted."

Authorities on Friday evening said Walcott had posted bail at 9:40 and was freed at 10:32.

Reddin ordered Walcott not to have contact with the victim or his family. Defense lawyer Miles Feinstein must also inform the court if Walcott leaves the state.

Feinstein said in court Tuesday that, at the moment, the only travel plans Walcott had were to go to North Carolina to help his mother care for his seriously ill father.

Among those who wrote letters of support for Walcott were former coaches, classmates, his agent, the Hackensack police commissioner and a Hackensack police detective.

"Ausar played on my traveling all-star basketball team for over four years during basketball season and summer league," wrote Hackensack Police Commissioner Dave Sims in his letter to the court. "It was a pleasure to watch him grow. He hustled and worked hard at winning. He was never disrespectful, always being attentive to his coaches and peers. ... If there is anything I can do for Mr. …

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