By LARRY O'DELL
Associated Press Writer
SUSSEX, Va. -- Former NFL quarterback Michael Vick won't be allowed to plead guilty to dogfighting charges by videoconference, a judge ruled Tuesday.
Vick's lawyers had requested that he be allowed to enter the plea from federal prison in Leavenworth, Kan., where he is serving a two-year term since admitting he bankrolled a dogfighting operation and helped execute dogs.
But citing high public interest in the case, Surry County Circuit Judge Samuel Campbell said it would be better for Vick to appear in person.
"I know from my conversations with Mike and, more importantly, his family that he's looking forward to getting this behind him," said Lawrence Woodward, an attorney for the former Virginia Tech and Atlanta Falcons star.
Prosecutor Gerald Poindexter preferred that Vick's plea wait until his release from federal prison. He objected to the video conferencing motion on grounds that it has never been used in Virginia and he didn't want the county to set a precedent.
Vick, 28, is set to enter his plea on Nov. 25. Under the terms of his plea deal, he would receive only a suspended sentence and a year of probation. If he is able to resolve the state dogfighting and animal cruelty charges, he would be eligible to transfer to a halfway house for the final six months of his term, according to court papers.