Sunday, April 20, 2003

Three Bucks players surrender on assault charges

By The Associated Press

TORONTO - Gary Payton, Sam Cassell and Jason Caffey of the Milwaukee Bucks surrendered to Toronto police on Saturday following an investigation into an alleged assault outside a strip club.

The three players, along with their lawyers, surrendered at 6:30 p.m., hours after the Bucks dropped the opening game of their NBA playoff series at New Jersey.

The alleged assault happened in the early hours of Friday morning, April 11, while the Bucks were in Toronto to play the Raptors.

Payton, 35, is charged with three counts of assault while Cassell, 33, is charged with two counts of assault. Caffey, 29, faces one count of assault.

The players and their lawyers flew to Toronto following the Bucks' 109-96 loss to the Nets at East Rutherford, N.J. The players were released and are to appear in a Toronto court May 30.

All three should be in uniform when the first-round series resumes Tuesday in East Rutherford. The timing couldn't be worse for the underdog Bucks, who face an off-court distraction in a series they already trail.

The players' surrender "was part of an arrangement, they were here with their lawyers," said Sgt. Jim Muscat of the Toronto police, who declined to elaborate.

Payton was held scoreless through the first 3 1/2 quarters of Milwaukee's loss Saturday afternoon, while Cassell scored 16. Caffey did not play.

The charges stem from an alleged assault of two women and two men by the three players outside a downtown Toronto strip club.

Toronto police say both women had, at some point, been employed by the club. One of the men involved was a boyfriend of one of the women while the other was a club doorman.

Muscat said the alleged assaults were the result of a series of events outside the club at about 2:30 a.m. He said trouble began when one of the players got into an argument with one of the women. The situation escalated when the woman's boyfriend became involved and the other two players, who had been waiting in a cab, left the vehicle.

From there, the club doorman also joined the altercation. Muscat would not be more specific, saying other details will emerge in court.

A spokesman for the Bucks could not immediately be reached for comment.

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