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Plea Deal Likely for Arenas in Felony Case

Although Washington Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas was charged with one felony count of carrying a handgun without a license, Thursday's filing signaled a plea deal.

That seemed to be so, with Arenas reaching a deal that could include a jail term much less than the maximum five years, The Washington Post reported, citing people close to the case. USA TODAY could not confirm that.

The charge filed in D.C. Superior Court was an "information" document with the U.S. Attorney's Office.

" 'Felony information' means there's enough to charge him with something but he's not formally indicted. It can mean the parties are negotiating," said Joseph DiBenedetto, a New York criminal defense attorney who also practices in Washington, D.C.

Arenas, suspended indefinitely without pay by the NBA on Jan. 6, had an argument with teammate Javaris Crittenton in December that later escalated in the locker room at the team's Verizon Center. Arenas, 28, who said his actions were a "misguided effort to play a joke," admitted bringing unloaded firearms to the arena. That is a violation of the NBA's collective bargaining agreement.

Teammates told investigators Crittenton also brought a handgun and loaded it, The Post reported. NBA clubs can terminate players' contracts by invoking the morals clause, although the league said voiding a contract has happened only on drug offenses.

Arenas, in the second of a six-year, $111 million guaranteed contract, was the team's leading scorer. The Wizards (12-25) are 1-4 without him.

The NBA and Arenas' attorney, Kenneth L. Wainstein, declined to comment. A Wizards statement said they were cooperating with investigators. The U.S. Attorney's Office didn't return calls.

Crittenton's attorney, Peter White, confirmed a search warrant for a gun was executed on his client's Arlington, Va., apartment and that evidence wasn't found or seized.

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