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Judge clears Tank for trip to Super Bowl

Judge clears Tank for trip to Super Bowl

A Cook County judge cleared the way Tuesday for Bears lineman Terry "Tank" Johnson to attend the Super Bowl in Miami, where he will be allowed to participate in all the same activities as his teammates.
During a brief hearing at the Skokie courthouse, Judge John Moran granted a motion by Johnson's attorneys that will enable him to travel out of town from Sunday to February 5.
Although Johnson, who has been confined to his Gurnee, Illinois, home, will not have court supervision while he's in Florida for the February 4 championship game against the Indianapolis Colts, Moran warned him that he must obey team restrictions and the law.
"I assume there won't be any violations of the law," Moran said. "He knows dire consequences will result."
Dressed in a dark suit and striped blue tie, Johnson stood solemnly in court, clasping his hands behind his back. But after the hearing, he was all smiles.
When asked by a reporter whether he was relieved at the judge's ruling, Johnson, 25, quietly responded, "It's a great feeling."
He even stopped to sign autographs for fans.
"Yeah! I got it!" one woman said after Johnson signed a small notepad for her. He signed a newspaper for another man.
Guns and ganja
Johnson was arrested December 14 after a raid on his far north suburban home, where police found six guns, more than 500 rounds of ammunition and marijuana.
Less than two days later, he was at a Chicago nightclub where his bodyguard and friend, Willie B. Posey, was shot and killed. In late December, Cook County authorities charged Michael Selvie, 34, an alleged gang member, with first-degree murder in connection with Posey's death.
Johnson had been serving an 18-month probation sentence he received in November 2005 after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor gun-possession charge.
Earlier this month, a Lake County judge said that as far as Lake County authorities were concerned, Johnson would be allowed to travel out of state to play in the Super Bowl. But Cook County prosecutors have said Johnson's latest arrest violated the conditions of his probation.
In late December, Moran ordered Johnson held under 24-hour home confinement, barring him from leaving except for Bears games, practices and other Bears-sponsored events.
On Tuesday, Cook County Assistant State's Attorney Rick Cenar said Johnson had complied with all of the judge's conditions, adding that the trip to the Super Bowl was a "legitimate, work-related reason" to leave town.
"We're treating him like any other defendant," Cenar said outside the courtroom.
One of Johnson's attorneys, Lorna Propes, said she was not surprised by the judge's ruling and added that her client was happy about the outcome.
"He's a young man who is right now having the opportunity of a lifetime," Propes said outside the courtroom. "He is thrilled to be going to the Super Bowl. ... He's pleased the judge cleared the way for him to do that."
Party on
When asked whether Johnson would be able to attend parties or other celebrations while in Florida, Propes responded: "I don't know what the party schedule is. He's able to do what other Bears do as long as he's in Miami."
Gale Paradise, a spokeswoman for the Cook County Adult Probation Department, said nothing in the terms of his probation references alcohol and that Johnson could drink, like any other adult, if he chose to.
Still, she said, restrictions put on players by the Bears and the NFL likely would be "very intense" prior to the Super Bowl.
"He wants to play, he wants to win," Paradise said. "He's not going to do anything that's going to affect that."
Also Tuesday, Moran set a February 8 court hearing to discuss a request by Johnson's attorneys to end his home confinement.
Propes and prosecutors said Johnson will remain on home confinement until he leaves Sunday and again after he returns February 5.


Updated : 2021-10-27 12:27 GMT+08:00