McKINNEY, Texas (AP) - The legal stakes have been raised in the tumultuous divorce case between Deion Sanders and his estranged wife with a new criminal charge against the Pro Football Hall of Famer.
Police in Sanders' hometown of Prosper, north of Dallas, filed a new complaint with the Collin County District Attorney's Office accusing Sanders of criminal mischief, according to a city statement Thursday. The complaint only says that the charge results from the department's ongoing investigation of an April 23 scuffle between Deion and Pilar Sanders at their palatial Prosper home.
No arrest has been made relating to the new charge. Criminal mischief is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $4,000.
Both Deion and Pilar Sanders already face charges of simple assault. Those misdemeanors are punishable by a fine of up to $500.
During a court hearing in their divorce case Thursday in McKinney, Pilar Sanders' attorney, Larry Friedman, said her arrest after allegations that she attacked the former NFL cornerback was "a complete setup." The hearing was part of the couple's battle over custody of their three children and who will keep their $5.7 million home.
Deion Sanders filed for divorce in December, but the pair still shared the home until Pilar Sanders' arrest after the April 23 scuffle. Police later charged Deion Sanders but said his charge didn't warrant an arrest.
Friedman said the ex-NFL star repeatedly called Prosper police until they arrested his wife. The attorney also said Deion Sanders violated a gag order in the case by doing TV interviews and posting updates on Twitter.
Sanders tweeted that his wife attacked him, and he even posted a photo of his children filling out police reports. He later removed the photo.
"He can do anything he wants, anytime he wants to anybody he wants because he's `Prime Time,"' Friedman said, referring to Deion Sanders' nickname from his playing days.
Rick Robertson, Deion Sanders' attorney, said Pilar Sanders has failed to take their children to school on time and has "been physically abusive" to them.
"His children are one of the main reasons he's here," Robertson said of his client. "His role of father exceeds the role of most fathers."
Jeffery Shore, an attorney for the children, ages 12, 10 and 8, said they are struggling in school and need counseling.
"They live in a combat zone," Shore said.