Days after the public release of a video showing the football star Ray Rice assaulting the woman who is now his wife, a senior Justice Department official signaled that additional legal charges against the running back could be in the offing.
"This is an ongoing case, and prosecutors are making real-time decisions" about the Rice matter, said Associate Attorney General Tony West, the third-highest ranking Justice official, in an interview from Washington late Tuesday. Because of that, West said, "I obviously have to be careful about what I say." West later added, through a spokesman, that he was referring to state prosecutors, not federal ones.
Rice's lawyer, Michael Diamondstein, did not initially respond to a request for comment.
Video shot in February that surfaced in recent days revealed that Rice, a prized running back for the Baltimore Ravens, punched Janay Palmer, then his fiancee, in the face during a squabble in the elevator of Revel, an Atlantic City, New Jersey casino. After Palmer appeared to pass out from the blow, Rice was depicted on the video dragging her unconscious body out of the elevator car.
Months after the incident, he was indicted by an Atlantic County jury on one count of aggravated assault; he pleaded not guilty. He then agreed to enter a pre-trial intervention program upon the completion of which the criminal charges would be dropped. Rice initially received a two-game suspension by the NFL that was modified to an indefinite ban since the release of the tape. The Ravens also severed ties with him.