Feb 8, 2007 11:03 pm US/Central
Tank Johnson Pleads Guilty On Probation Violation
Terms Of Bears Defensive Lineman's Home Confinement Loosened
Bears player Tank Johnson entered a guilty plea Thursday for violating his probation on a 2005 weapons charge.
As CBS 2 North Suburban Bureau Chief Katie McCall reports, the judge at a Skokie courthouse gave Johnson a bit of a break Thursday.
The judge will not sentence Johnson for another month, but is loosening his home confinement a bit. Johnson can now leave the house to work out from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., five days a week.
Johnson told a Cook County judge that he did violate his probation for a 2005 weapons violation by having guns in his home in December.
His attorneys did not comment on why the Bears defensive lineman decided to change his plea from not guilty to guilty Thursday, but in court they presented four witnesses who told a judge Johnson does not deserve to serve jail time.
The misdemeanor carries a maximum sentence of a year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500.
Bears coach Don Johnson called Tank Johnson a "great father" to his two young girls, and said "he's a great individual, he's a team player."
Cliff Stein, the Bears' director of player contracts, praised Johnson�s behavior since his legal troubles began, saying he has "done everything we have asked him and more."
Johnson has entered a plea of not guilty in Lake County on 10 counts of possessing a weapon without the proper state-required ID.
On Dec. 14, Gurnee police raided his home and found six guns and hundreds of rounds of ammunition.
That same weekend, Johnson�s best friend Willie Posey was shot to death at a bar and the Bears imposed what Stein referred to as a "plan of action,� a list of requirements which he says Johnson has met.
Also on the stand Thursday was Johnson�s next door neighbor Dom Chamberlain who said of Johnson: "Terry is a good neighbor, I�ve never had any trouble with him."
Johnson and his attorneys declined to talk on camera, but his lawyers say they were pleased the court was able to see their client through the eyes of those who they say know him best.
Johnson's sentencing on this charge is set for next month.
He still faces the other unlicensed weapons charges in Lake County later this month.