With the possibility of a trial fast approaching, USC wide receiver Joseph Lewis pleaded no contest to two counts of domestic battery with an injury in Los Angeles County Superior Court on Wednesday.
The deal includes a 60-day jail sentence that can be reduced to 30 days with good behavior. His jail time is set to begin June 15. If found guilty in trial, Lewis could have faced two years of incarceration.
Lewis agreed to a plea deal that he rejected last Thursday. With a jury nearly selected for his trial and opening arguments set to begin Wednesday, Lewis decided to accept the deal and avoid trial testimony.
As part of the deal, Lewis was sentenced to 36 months summary probation; 60 days in county jail; a 10-year ban on owning, using or possessing firearms; enrollment in a weekly yearlong domestic violence treatment program and a protective order that prohibits him from approaching within 100 yards of the victim or contacting her.
Lewis was arrested in February and, in March, charged with five misdemeanors — three counts of domestic battery with an injury, one count of domestic battery without an injury and one count of false imprisonment — stemming from two alleged incidents. USC suspended him from all activities following his arrest. He was later removed from the roster.
“USC takes all reports of domestic abuse seriously and is cooperating fully with the law enforcement investigation,” the school said in a statement after Lewis’ arrest. “While this student code of conduct issue is being investigated, the student has been suspended from all football-related activities. Student disciplinary records and student conduct proceedings are confidential at USC and protected by law.”
Lewis was a highly touted prospect in 2017 with Rivals ranking him as the sixth-best receiver in his recruiting class. As a freshman for the Trojans, he registered four catches for 39 yards. He appeared in 11 games, seeing much of his game action on special teams.
Lewis told the LA Times that he hopes to return to the football program once he completes his legal obligations.
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