As the New England Patriots are preparing for the start of the regular season, one of their team leaders appears to be headed towards some legal trouble: as first reported by CLNS’ Alex Barth and later confirmed by the Boston Herald’s Kevin Duffy, safety Patrick Chung has been indicted on a charge of cocaine possession in New Hampshire. The indictment, as confirmed by the Belknap County attorney’s office was reportedly presented on August 8.
Chung is coming off another productive season as the team’s strong safety. Earlier this offseason, he and the team also agreed to a new contract that added an additional year to the defender’s existing deal. The 32-year old’s role in 2019 was therefore projected to remain unchanged, as he was again expected to serve as a starter in the defensive backfield despite a shoulder injury limiting his practice ability so far in training camp.
How the indictment will change this outlook remains to be seen, but one thing needs to be pointed out: an indictment is neither a confirmation of guilt nor necessarily foreshadowing any potential suspension by the NFL. Considering that Chung would be a first-time offender if indeed found guilty, it would not be surprising to see the league take a comparatively lenient approach. Of course, this is all just speculation at this point in time.
We will all have to wait for further details to emerge before drawing any definitive conclusions.
[UPDATE 08/22/2019, 12:08 pm] According to the Boston Globe’s Ben Volin, the arraignment on a felony drug charge will take place on August 28.
[UPDATE 08/22/2019, 12:19 pm] The Patriots have released the following statement on the matter:
We are aware of the reports regarding Patrick Chung. We will not be commenting while his judicial proceedings take place.
[UPDATE 08/22/2019, 4:56 pm] The county attorney’s office has also released a statement about Chung’s indictment:
Mr Chung has been charged with one count of possession of a controlled drug, a class B felony, for having in his possession or under his control a quantity of the controlled drug cocaine. The charges arise from an incident which occurred on June 25, 2019 when members of the Meredith, New Hampshire police department were called to Mr. Chung’s residence on a call for service. During the course of the call, the police obtained the evidence which has led to the current charges being filed. Mr. Chung was not arrested at the time. Following the police investigation, the information was referred to the Belknap County Attorney’s Office, which made the decision to indict Mr. Chung, based upon its determination that there was probable cause to believe that a crime had been committed by Mr Chung. The grand jury returned its indictment on August 8, 2019. An indictment is not an indication of guilt or innocence, but is merely a finding by a grand jury that there is probably cause to believe that a crime may have been committed. Mr. Chung is presumed innocent until he is proven guilty
In accordance with my office’s regular practices, we will not be providing any additional details regarding the underlying facts of this case prior to its final resolution. This is to preserve the integrity of the judicial process and to ensure that Mr. Chung receives a fair trial.