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Assault charge hits three Bucks

Posted: Sunday, April 20, 2003

TORONTO (AP) -- Hours after losing an NBA playoff game in New Jersey, Gary Payton, Sam Cassell and Jason Caffey of the Milwaukee Bucks surrendered to police in Toronto and were charged with assault for a fight earlier this month outside a strip club.

The three players, along with their lawyers, flew to Canada, surrendered at 6:30 p.m. and spent a couple hours at a police station. All three signed affidavits which allowed them to be released on their own recognizance. They are to appear in court May 30.

Payton, 35, is charged with three counts of simple assault -- equivalent to a misdemeanor -- while Cassell, 33, is charged with two counts and Caffey, 29, faces one count.

The altercation happened in the early hours of Friday morning, April 11, while the Bucks were in Toronto to play the Raptors.

Police Sgt. Jim Muscat said trouble began when one of the players got into an argument with one of two women associated with the club. The situation escalated when the woman's boyfriend became involved, and the other two players, who had been waiting in a cab, left the vehicle.

From there, the club's doorman also joined the altercation. Muscat would not be more specific, saying other details will emerge in court.

Bucks spokeswoman Cheri Hanson confirmed that the three players went to Toronto to cooperate with authorities. She said all three would attend practice Sunday.

The timing couldn't be worse for the underdog Bucks, who face an off-court distraction in a series they already trail following their 109-96 loss to the Nets.

Payton was held scoreless through the first 3 1/2 quarters of Milwaukee's loss, while Cassell scored 16. Caffey did not play.



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