Marshon Lattimore Facing Felony Charge that’s Hard to Prove, Likely to be Dropped
New Orleans Saints Cornerback Marshon Lattimore is facing a potential fourth-degree felony from his arrest back in March when cops caught him in his hometown of Cleveland, Ohio in possession of a stolen firearm. But it’s unlikely that prosecutors will pursue the serious charge and even more unlikely that Lattimore would ever be convicted.
Bodycam video (inserted below) shows officers retrieve a loaded Smith & Wesson 9mm from inside Lattimore’s pants, jokingly suggesting he buy a holster so he doesn’t accidentally shoot his private parts off. While the football star stays calm and compliant, and even offers his valid concealed carry weapons permit for the gun, he is ultimately carted off in handcuffs when the traced firearm comes up “hot,” aka stolen.
Lattimore first claimed that he purchased the gun at a store, before saying seconds later that someone else purchased it for him. However, sources say Lattimore had no idea the gun was stolen and had no way of knowing. The gun had nothing on it or missing from it that would indicate it was stolen. Ohio is relatively lax when it comes to gun laws. It is an open carry state so anyone who is 18 years old can legally purchase and carry a gun without a license (except if inside a motor vehicle). Concealed guns that are not readily visible on a person require a permit, which Lattimore had!
It’s unclear if Lattimore bought the gun from a licensed dealer or in a private sale but both are legal. Lattimore was under no obligation to do a background check on the seller or trace the origins of the gun. So, how would he (or anyone else) know if he was buying a stolen gun?
The charge against Lattimore does not accuse him of stealing the gun, it only accuses him of receiving a stolen gun, which means he was in possession of it. The charge requires prosecutors prove he possessed it AND that he had actual knowledge the gun was stolen or reasonably should have known it was stolen. Sources say it’s going to be extremely difficult for prosecutors to prove Lattimore knew he bought a stolen gun. Plus, Lattimore has no criminal history or record.
Back in April, Lattimore’s attorney questioned why anyone would think Lattimore would have reason to carry a stolen gun when he could buy a gun at any time. “Someone like that, who’s licensed to carry with no prior criminal record, would have no purpose and no reason to knowingly possess a stolen firearm,” Lattimore’s attorney told WWLTV, “He’s able to carry one lawfully.”
It’s been almost five months since the charge was handed over to a grand jury and there is still no indictment. A non-violent charge against someone with a clean record is not a high priority for prosecutors and there’s a good possibility they don’t waste the grand jury’s time with it.
Prosecutors can avoid the grand jury altogether and offer Lattimore a program, then drop the charge when he completes it. If the charge does end up going to a grand jury and he’s indicted, prosecutors can still agree to a plea deal with a probationary period and some gun related classes, like ordering him to retake his concealed carry permit class.
Lattimore should have no problem playing this season and even if the NFL does decide to discipline him, it’s likely the suspension will be minimal, if there is even one at all.
Given that it’s hard to prove he knew he was in possession of a stolen gun and there’s a good chance he in fact did not know, it could be unfair for the NFL to discipline him at all. So far, sources say, it does not look like the stolen gun is tied to any criminal activity. More details could come out, but for now the charge may get resolved before the season starts or immediately after.
A first round draft pick, Lattimore has starred as New Orleans’ starting cornerback for the last four seasons. He was AP Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2017 and has made the Pro Bowl three times. Lattimore is set to earn $10.244 million in 2021.
Watch the video of Lattimore’s arrest below: