FAIRFAX, Va. — A judge on Tuesday dismissed a misdemeanor assault charge against Washington Redskins defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth after the player reached an agreement with the man who said he was the victim of a road-rage attack.
Under Virginia law, a judge can dismiss misdemeanor assaults under a provision called “accord and satisfaction,” in which a victim says he has been made whole, usually by a financial payment.
Neither Haynesworth nor the victim, identified as Arthur Velasquez, would comment on details of the settlement. Haynesworth, dressed in a white collared shirt with blue jeans and large diamond stud earrings, said nothing as he left the courthouse after the two-minute hearing in Fairfax County General District Court.
The incident in early February began when Velasquez gave the finger to Haynesworth on the Fairfax County Parkway in Reston because he believed Haynesworth was following too closely, according to Haynesworth’s attorney, Steven Merril, and police accounts.
Both drivers exited the parkway, and at some point Haynesworth got out of his car. At that point, according to Merril, the two men’s stories diverged. Velasquez said Haynesworth punched him in the face, giving him a bloody nose.
“There’s blame for both of them” in the confrontation, Merril said after the hearing. “You know how northern Virginia can be with tight traffic, anger building up among drivers.”
Merril said, “Haynesworth’s mistake was he got out of the car. Judges don’t like that.”
It was not clear if Velasquez knew Haynesworth’s identity at the outset of the confrontation.
Velasquez’s lawyer, Stephen Sheehy, declined to discuss details of the case but said his client is satisfied with the outcome.
Haynesworth, meanwhile, still faces a misdemeanor sexual abuse charge in the District of Columbia, where he is accused of groping a waitress at a hotel bar. He has pleaded not guilty.
At one point last year Haynesworth was juggling as many four court-related matters, including lawsuits from a bank, an exotic dancer, a man injured in an automobile accident and complaints from his ex-wife that he wasn’t paying her health insurance or their children’s bills.
Haynesworth set an NFL record in 2009 with $41 million guaranteed as part of a seven-year, $100 million contract with the Redskins. But Haynesworth fell out of favor with new coach Mike Shanahan in 2010 and repeatedly clashed over workout routines and playing time. The Redskins suspended Haynesworth for the final four games of the season for “conduct detrimental to the team.”