HOUSTON (AP) — Los Angeles Lakers forward Jordan Hill was sentenced to one year of probation Thursday after pleading no contest to assaulting his former girlfriend in February.
Hill, 25, will also have to pay a $500 fine, undergo domestic-violence counseling, make a $100 donation to the Harris County Violence Fund and avoid any contact with the alleged victim, Darlene Luna. The assault charge was reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor before 339th District Criminal Judge Maria Jackson.
Hill is charged with assaulting Luna on Feb. 29 at his apartment in Houston while the former first-round draft pick was playing for the Rockets.
Flanked by attorney Gloria Allred, Luna sobbed on the witness stand and said Hill hit her legs with his fists, then pulled her off a couch and put her in a chokehold from behind. The two had been dating for about a year and a half, Luna said, and the assault came as a shock because Hill had never previously abused her.
By pleading no contest, Luna said Hill was avoiding taking responsibility for what he did. She said she delayed reporting the incident to police to protect Hill's professional career. Hill was formally charged in March.
The 6-foot-10 Hill wore a white shirt, gray slacks and a purple and green striped tie to court on Thursday. He's represented by high-profile attorney Rusty Hardin, who successfully defended Roger Clemens in his recent perjury trial.
Hardin said Luna's statement distorted the facts and was nothing more than grandstanding by Allred, well known for representing Nicole Brown Simpson's family during the O.J. Simpson murder trial.
"I've got to tell you, anybody experience in the criminal justice system would've been disgusted with what happened today," Hardin said. "You have this deal where the publicity-seeking lawyer is hovering about her on the stand, and hugging her and giving her Kleenexes. Give me a break."