Aldon Smith not only is facing a civil lawsuit in the aftermath of a sprawling house party last year, he may be hit with criminal charges as well. The Mercury New reported today that the Santa Clara County District Attorney is considering charging him with possessing three illegal assault rifles.
According to the newspaper, Smith bought the weapons in Arizona where they are legal, but he did not modify them to comply with California's gun laws. The charge could be filed as a felony or misdemeanor. Jail time is possible, but probation is more likely.
Sheriff's deputies found the weapons when they were called to break up a massive party at which two people were shot and Smith stabbed. One of the two men shot, Ronndale Esporlas, is suing Smith, claiming he and former teammate Delanie Walker, who is now with the Tennessee Titans, illegally fired weapons in an attempt to disperse the crowd at the party at Smith's isolated rental home in the foothills east of San Jose.
In the lawsuit, Esporlas says he was struck when a group of people near the street began firing toward Smith's residence. Ballistics tests indicate that neither Esporlas nor the other shooting victim were shot by Walker or Smith.
Under the new collective bargaining agreement, the NFL can suspend or otherwise discipline a player whether charges are filed or not and is more likely to do so if a player has had previous run-ins with the law. Smith also was charged with DUI in 2012, a charge that later was reduced to reckless driving.
Meanwhile, the NFL continues to ponder a case involving another 49ers outside linebacker, Ahmad Brooks. After a month-long investigation, the Santa Clara County District Attorney's decided not to charge Brooks in an alleged assault on then-teammate Lamar Divens, which occurred in June this year. Divens required stitches after Brooks allegedly struck him in the head with a Heineken bottle.
The NFL, however, says it still is looking into the Brooks' matter. Brooks also was charged with punching a Kentucky woman in the face in 2008, a misdemeanor case has since been expunged. Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said he doesn't think Brooks will be suspended for any games this season.
-- Matt Barrows