Wednesday , Mar , 31 , 2004 C.Y. Ellis

Williams: ‘I am innocent’

Somerville, NJ (Sports Network) – Former NBA player Jayson Williams told a
judge Wednesday that he is innocent of manslaughter charges.

“I am innocent. I put my trust in God and I have great confidence in this
jury,” Williams told Superior Court Judge Edward M. Coleman.

Now in its eighth week, the defense rested its case Wednesday after informing
the court that Williams would not testify.

Williams is facing multiple charges, including aggravated manslaughter in the
shooting death of limousine driver Costas “Gus” Christofi on February 14,
2002. He faces 55 years in prison if convicted on all charges.

Williams is accused of recklessly handling the gun that killed Christofi
and then trying to make the shooting look self-inflicted. Williams told all
the guests they must agree the shooting was a suicide, and he wanted them to
lie to police.

Two witnesses eventually reached a deal with prosecutors to testify against
Williams to avoid charges of tampering with evidence and lying to
investigators.

The 6-foot-10 Williams spent nine years in the NBA, averaging 7.3 points and
7.5 rebounds. His career ended in 1999 when he broke his right leg and injured
his right knee.

NJ