Jayson Williams charges dropped

RALEIGH Officers charged him with one count of simple assault following a fight at the Ugly Monkey bar.

Those charges were dropped Wednesday at the victim's request.

It was the second time in a month that the ex New Jersey Nets player had a run in with the law. In late April, he was zapped with a stun gun by police in his swank Manhattan hotel suite.

New York police said then that he was suicidal and resisted attempts by officers to take him to a hospital.

Meanwhile, Williams still faces a retrial in New Jersey in the 2002 shooting death of his chauffeur.

In 2004, he was convicted of trying to cover up the shooting at his home. Prosecutors said Williams was giving a tour of his estate to friends and his driver Costas "Gus" Christofi at his mansion in Alexandria Township, N.J. While in the master bedroom, he took a 12-gauge shotgun from a case and snapped it closed, according to testimony. The gun fired once, ripping a hole in the chest of Christofi, who died within minutes. Williams then wiped down the weapon and placed it in the wounded 55-year-old man's hands, stripped off his own clothes, handed them to a friend and jumped into his pool, according to testimony.

The Williams defense maintained that the shooting was an accident and that he panicked afterward. He was convicted of the cover up, but was acquitted of aggravated manslaughter. The jury deadlocked on a reckless-manslaughter count. A retrial is pending, and he has been free on bail since the shooting. He's apologized to Christofi's relatives and given them $2.5 million to settle a civil suit. Williams could be sentenced to several years in prison on the cover-up conviction, but a judge ruled he wouldn't be sentenced until after the retrial.

The 41-year-old former All-Star played nine seasons with the Nets and the Philadelphia 76ers before retiring in 2000. He was a first-round pick in the 1990 NBA draft and went on to become a valuable Nets star. He was named an All-Star and ranked second in the NBA for the 1997-98 season with 13 rebounds per game and a league-high 443 offensive rebounds. An injury forced career-ending surgery.

Williams' wife filed divorce papers this year claiming he was abusive and adulterous and had a drug problem. Proceedings continue.

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