(NBC)–Former Texas A&M and Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel was indicted Tuesday by a Dallas County grand jury on a charge of misdemeanor assault family violence.
On Wednesday, a judge set his bond at $1,500.
The allegation stems from a Jan. 29 incident involving ex-girlfriend Collen Crowley, who said she and the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner had a confrontation in a hotel room that continued downstairs to the valet station. Crowley said Manziel forced her into a car and a valet disregarded her pleas for help.
The two eventually drove to where Crowley’s car was parked in front of a Dallas bar, she said in an affidavit. Crowley said Manziel, 23, got into the driver’s seat and began to drive. He stopped when she tried to jump out of the car but dragged her back inside and hit her, Crowley alleged.
In the indictment released Tuesday, Crowley said she was forced into a vehicle against the dashboard. She said Manziel threatened to kill himself as he drove her back to Fort Worth, about 30 miles west of Dallas, where police were called.
Crowley suffered a ruptured eardrum, according to her attorney. She was granted a protective order that prohibits Manziel from seeing her for two years and requires him to stay 500 feet away. Manziel must also pay $12,000 in legal fees.
Police made no arrest but the grand jury returned the misdemeanor charge.
“Now that’s is just unheard of, if you’re talking about preferential treatment, if he were ‘Johnny Smith,’ that wouldn’t have happened,” said Manziel’s attorney Robert Hinton.
Former prosecutor Heath Harris is now a defense attorney, he says he has clients in jail for less.
“The notion that he’s not getting some preferential treatment is ridiculous,” said Harris. “There was enough evidence for this young lady to get a protective order over in Tarrant County, but here in Dallas County, we — for whatever reason — kind of held the ball and tried to see if we could get a perfect case, I guess.”
Defense attorney Cynthia Barbare says the indictment shows Dallas County is tough on domestic violence. “If you’re out there committing domestic violence, male or female, this county is not going to tolerate it,” said Barbare.
The quarterback has since been cut by the Browns, dropped by two agents, lost his endorsement with Nike and has no NFL job prospects.
Jim Darnell, lead counsel for Manziel, released a statement Tuesday saying the grand jury only heard one side of the case when prosecutors presented evidence last week. Darnell said the facts will clear his client’s name.
“We certainly respect the decision of the grand jury but of course they only hear part of the case: What the D.A. chooses to share with them. We don’t know what that was. This case will now be assigned to a court in Dallas County where the parties are able to join the issue,” Darnell said in a prepared statement. “Johnny will certainly plead ‘not guilty’ and we believe the evidence will support that plea. Out of respect for Ms. Crowley, we will not try the case in the press. We do, however, believe that Johnny will be acquitted at the conclusion of the case.”
Manziel’s attorney said he is currently in Los Angeles and said Wednesday his client is expected to surrender sometime next week.
The office of Dallas County District Attorney Susan Hawk also issued a statement Tuesday morning, saying the decision to go forward in the prosecution process was made by the grand jury and that her office respects that decision:
“The Dallas County grand jury is responsible for determining whether there is probable cause that the crime alleged in the case they are presented with has occurred and should move forward in the criminal prosecution process. During this secret proceeding, both the state and the defense have the opportunity to present information about the case to the grand jury. The grand jury’s review of Mr. Manziel’s case has resulted in a ‘true bill,’ which means that there was probable cause found that Mr. Manziel committed a family violence assault against the complainant. Therefore, this case will move forward in the criminal justice system and be prosecuted by the District Attorney’s Office. As always, we respect the criminal justice process and the decision that the Dallas County grand jury has made in regards to this.”
Manziel faces one year behind bars and a $4,000 fine if convicted.
When the allegations came to light, his father said the family had made two recent, unsuccessful attempts to get Manziel into a rehab clinic.
Manziel — who entered the NFL with a reputation for partying and drinking — spent 73 days last winter in a Pennsylvania treatment center specializing in care for alcohol and drug dependency.
He was cleared of any wrongdoing last year after he and Crowley got into a heated roadside argument near his home. Witnesses to that incident saw Manziel arguing on the side of a highway with his girlfriend and pulling her back into his car as she tried to leave the vehicle. He was not arrested, and Crowley told police she didn’t want to press charges.
According to NBC Sports’ Pro Football Talk, Manziel addressed his future in a statement last week, saying, “I’m hoping to take care of the issues in front of me right now so I can focus on what I have to do if I want to play in 2016.”