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Randy Moss Doesn’t Have To Pay

August 21, 2000 GMT

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) _ Minnesota Vikings star receiver Randy Moss does not have to pay restitution to a man he beat up while both were in high school, a Kanawha County circuit judge ruled Monday.

Ernest Roy Johnson had asked Judge Charles King to follow through on an Aug. 1, 1995, bench ruling requiring Moss to pay for damages stemming from the beating.

Johnson was hospitalized with injuries to his spleen, liver and kidney and suffered a concussion after the 1995 fight at DuPont High School in Belle. Police and school officials at the time said the fight was racially motivated. Moss and the other student charged are black and Johnson is white.

Moss publicly apologized for the fight, pleaded guilty to battery and was placed on probation. His probation was revoked and he served jail time after a failed drug test showed marijuana use. His sentence was eventually reduced to time he had served and he was released Aug. 5, 1996.

King’s order Monday said neither prosecutors nor Johnson ever asked for a specific amount of restitution, so no specific restitution was ever ordered.

Also, King’s initial restitution order was a condition of Moss’ probation. When his probation was revoked, so was the requirement to make restitution.

Restitution was not part of his final sentence, King noted.

``The court agrees with the defendant that he has fully and completely served his sentence,″ so the court no longer has jurisdiction over Moss, King said. ``Any attempt by the court to enhance the defendant’s sentence after it has been fully and completely served ... would constitute an enhanced or second punishment. Such a punishment would violate the constitutional prohibition against double jeopardy.″

King said Johnson’s motive appeared to be to win damages he might have recovered in a civil action, which it is now too late to file.

Even if he now forced Moss to pay restitution, he could order him only to pay for tangible losses, like medical expenses, King said. Johnson could not expect to be reimbursed for pain and suffering, lost wages, annoyance and inconvenience, as he could in a civil action.

Also, any restitution would have to be based on Moss’ ability to pay at the time, not now, King said.

In 1998, after he left Marshall University, Moss signed a four-year, $4.4 million contract with the Vikings. At the time he was put on probation, however, he was an unemployed graduating high school senior who was taking college prep classes.

``The amount of restitution would have been minimal,″ King said. Also, since Moss was one of two co-defendants, he would have been responsible only for half of the restitution.

Moss’ lawyer, Dante DiTrapano, said, ``We’re obviously pleased the court recognized Mr. Johnson had no viable claim. We’re glad after five years this high school fight that brought so much negative attention to him is finally over with.″

Johnson’s attorney, Michael Allen, did not immediately return a phone call.