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Last week a federal grand jury in Virginia indicted NFL star Michael Vick for allegedly operating an illegal interstate dogfighting ring. In the indictment, the government offers a plethora of talkative witnesses who describe how the Atlanta Falcons quarterback and his entourage hosted a series of dogfights at his compound over the past six years. Gamblers came from across the country to cast their hounds and bets into the pit on Vick’s property in Smithfield, Va., the indictment states. To top it off, the feds say, they found the carcasses of 17 dogs buried there. The dogs were executed by gunshot, hanging, or electrocution, the indictment states. It all means that Vick, a player often knocked for lacking the judgment to succeed on the field, is going to need one hell of a lawyer off it. Enter Lawrence Woodward, a partner at Virginia Beach, Va.’s Shuttleworth, Ruloff, Swain, Haddad & Morecock. Woodward, 50, has been at Vick’s side — and that of his legally troubled brother Marcus — since the star entered the league six years ago. His work has already included confidentially settling a suit last year against Vick filed by a woman who claimed he had infected her with genital herpes. “He is an excellent attorney. He is well-prepared. He gets to the point, doesn’t waste people’s time or money,” says Harvey Bryant III, commonwealth attorney for the city of Virginia Beach. But is one lawyer enough? There’s been no word on whether Vick has shopped his case to other high-powered criminal defense lawyers. Though, given that if convicted Vick would face up to six years in prison, it would seem an obvious audible to call.
R. Robin McDonald is a reporter for The Daily Report , and ALM publication. Nathan Carlile can be contacted at [email protected].

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