Prosecutors drop charges against Saints LB Vilma, who'll give to charity

MIAMI -- Prosecutors dropped charges of resisting arrest and other crimes against Jonathan Vilma on Wednesday after the New Orleans Saints linebacker agreed to give money to charity and clear up outstanding tickets.

The former University of Miami player was arrested last month during a traffic stop and charged with felony resisting arrest with violence and misdemeanor counts of reckless driving and obstruction of justice.

Vilma will donate $1,000 to a hospital trauma center, said Ed Griffith, a spokesman for the Miami-Dade State Attorney's office. The officer involved agreed with the decision not to press charges, Griffith said.

Vilma's attorney, Michael Tein, said his client is relieved and is looking forward to focusing on football again.

In a statement released by the Saints, Vilma thanked prosecutors for their decision.

"I appreciate that the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office did their due diligence and decided not to file charges against me regarding the arrest that occurred on January 16, 2009 in Miami, Florida," Vilma said in the statement. "As I have indicated in the past, I would vigorously fight any charges filed against me surrounding the incident that occurred. I believe the State Attorney's Office did the just and right thing in this matter. I would like to thank my family and friends, the New Orleans Saints organization, and my fans for supporting and believing in me.

Vilma will be a free agent this winter, but he has said that he would prefer to stay in New Orleans. He played every defensive snap and led the Saints in tackles in his first season with the team after spending his first four years with the New York Jets.

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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