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Steelers' Holmes waives hearing on marijuana bust

PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Steelers receiver and Super Bowl MVP Santonio Holmes waived his right to a preliminary hearing Thursday on a misdemeanor marijuana charge stemming from an October traffic stop.

Holmes' attorney, Robert DelGreco Jr., said he waived the hearing because district judges cannot assess witness credibility or constitutional challenges.

District Judge Gene Ricciardi commended Holmes for donating the gloves he wore when he caught the Super Bowl-winning touchdown pass for charity, saying it showed fine character.

The auction raised $70,200 for the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America Inc. Holmes' 6-year-old son, Santonio III, has the blood disease.

Holmes did not speak to reporters.

Pittsburgh police said they found three marijuana-filled cigars in Holmes' car when he was pulled over Oct. 23. Holmes was stopped because his car was similar to one they were looking for in a drug sting, police said.

Holmes was cooperative and alerted officers to the drugs, police said.

DelGreco characterized the charge "as low as a grade a misdemeanor you can get." The penalty is up to 30 days probation and a $500 fine, he said.

Coach Mike Tomlin deactivated Holmes for a game following the traffic stop. He was not arrested and received a court summons, which is common with misdemeanor charges in Pennsylvania.

Holmes said he "learned a lot" from missing a game following the traffic stop. Before the Super Bowl, Holmes told the media that he had dealt drugs for a year in his hometown of Belle Glade, Fla.

A first-round draft pick out of Ohio State in 2006, Holmes has had two other run-ins with the law since the Steelers drafted him. In June 2006, he was charged with domestic violence in Columbus, Ohio. Those charges were dropped when the mother of one of his three children declined to help prosecute the case and prosecutors were assured that Holmes received anger management and domestic violence counseling through the NFL.

In May 2006, Holmes was arrested for disorderly conduct by police in Miami, who later dropped the charges.

No trial date has been set on the marijuana charge. A formal arraignment was scheduled for April 29.

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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