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K-Rod pleads guilty, avoids prison time

New York Mets baseball pitcher Francisco Rodriguez, left,

New York Mets baseball pitcher Francisco Rodriguez, left, leaves court with his attorney, Christopher Booth. (Dec. 3, 2010) Credit: AP

Francisco Rodriguez pleaded guilty to an attempted assault charge Friday morning as part of a plea deal with prosecutors that spared the Mets closer from spending time in prison.

Rodriguez originally faced charges of third-degree assault and second-degree harassment after police reported that he repeatedly punched his girlfriend's father at Citi Field after a Mets game Aug. 11, but prosecutors reduced the charges in exchange for a guilty plea.

Just before his sentencing at Queens Criminal Court, Rodriguez was asked by Judge Mary O'Donoghue whether he "intended to cause injury" when he attacked Carlos Peña outside the players' room.

"Yes," Rodriguez said.

As per the terms of the plea agreement, Rodriguez agreed to attend 52 additional anger management sessions with court-appointed counselors at his own expense during the course of the next 11 months.

The plea agreement, which was obtained by Newsday, also states that Rodriguez has to pay $14,444.65 in medical bills for Peña, as well as a $1,000 fine.

If Rodriguez violates the agreement, he faces a penalty of up to 120 days in jail.

O'Donoghue also extended the order of protection on behalf of his former fiancee, Daian Peña, and her father, for two years.

Rodriguez had been facing up to two years in jail on the original charges plus a criminal contempt charge that was added after prosecutors alleged that Rodriguez violated his order of protection by sending 56 text messages to Daian Peña, attempting to try to settle their differences outside of the court.

The criminal contempt charge was reduced Friday to two disorderly conduct violations, to which Rodriguez also pleaded guilty.

At one point during the hearing, the judge advised Rodriguez that he could face additional immigration issues as a result of his plea, considering that he is in the United States on a work visa. But Rodriguez's attorney, Christopher Booth, said outside court that he does not foresee a problem.

"Immigration was a concern," Booth said, "and it's been dealt with as best as possible, we believe, considering all the circumstances."

According to Queens district attorney Richard A. Brown, Booth took the potential plea agreement to immigration lawyers to look over and "they expressed satisfaction" that nothing within the deal put Rodriguez's immigration status at risk.

Rodriguez is a native of Venezuela.

The plea agreement breaks down the anger management sessions by time periods consistent with the Major League Baseball schedule.

According to the document, which also was read in court, Rodriguez must take 14 sessions of individual counseling by Feb. 14, which is the start of spring training, then another 14 individual counseling sessions by April 1, which is when baseball's regular season begins.

Rodriguez then must attend 24 sessions from April 1 until Oct. 1, including "both individual and group sessions," according to the agreement.

"We are pleased that Francisco has accepted responsibility for his actions," the Mets said in a statement. "We are encouraged that he will continue to undergo therapy and is committed to taking steps to improve himself."

Rodriguez is next due in court Feb. 23 for a "compliance hearing," but Booth said he would work on not making Rodriguez's appearance necessary for the proceeding to take place.

Carlos Peña also has filed a civil lawsuit in Bronx Supreme Court against Rodriguez seeking unspecified damages, but Booth said he is not representing Rodriguez in that case. The attorney for Peña, Jeff Korek, said he is awaiting Rodriguez's side to answer the charges in court.

"Following today's resolution between K-Rod and the criminal justice system," Korek said, "it is Mr. Peña's hope that K-Rod will further own up to his responsibilities to Ms. Peña and their children."

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