The lead prosecutor in the assault case against Washington Redskins safety Sean Taylor stepped aside Wednesday after defense lawyers charged that he was using his prominence in the case to promote his moonlighting work as a nightclub disc jockey.
Michael Grieco, the assistant state attorney handling the Taylor case, asked to be replaced because "he sees himself becoming the courtroom focus, rather than the individual charged with the criminal offense," said a statement from the office of his boss, Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle.
The move came a few hours after Taylor's attorney Richard Sharpstein said he would seek dismissal of the charges because of "inappropriate and unethical" prosecutorial conduct by Grieco, who had posted news articles about the Taylor case on a Web site that promotes his side business as a DJ in Miami Beach clubs.
"It's obvious he's exploiting his job as a prosecutor for private gain," Sharpstein said. "It has clouded his view of justice."
After being told of Grieco's departure from the case, Sharpstein said: "Now we look forward to a fair and impartial prosecutor looking at this matter and doing the right thing, which is to dismiss this case."
Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Mary Barzee agreed earlier Wednesday to delay the trial for a sixth time, this time from Monday until May 8. Taylor faces a minimum of three years in prison on each of three aggravated assault charges stemming from a June 1 armed confrontation in a Miami neighborhood.This latest development could mean even more delays.
SEYMOUR SIGNS EXTENSION: The New England Patriots reached an agreement with All-Pro defensive lineman Richard Seymour on a contract extension. The team did not release Wednesday the financial terms or length of the deal. The 6-foot-6, 310-pound Seymour is entering the final year of the six-year contract he signed as a rookie after the team selected him in the first round, sixth overall, out of Georgia. Seymour, the cornerstone of the team's young defensive line, held out of camp last season until he was given a raise. He is scheduled to make just over $2 million in base salary next season.
FEAGLES NOT FINISHED: New York Giants punter Jeff Feagles will return for a 19th season in 2006. Feagles, 40, had considered retiring after the 2005 season. He decided recently to return to the team after reaching an agreement under which he will be able to see his wife and four children in Arizona during the season, the team said. Feagles holds the NFL record for career punts and set the league mark for consecutive games played last season when he played his 283rd, breaking the record set by Minnesota's Jim Marshall in the 1960s and '70s.
ALSO: The Seattle Seahawks have signed former New York Jets safety Oliver Celestin to a $425,000, one-year contract . . . The New York Jets signed offensive lineman Trey Teague, picking up a possible replacement at center for Kevin Mawae.