Lakers backup forward Jordan Hill was sentenced Thursday to one year of probation after he plead no contest to allegedly hitting and choking his former girlfriend in February when he was a member of the Houston Rockets.
Hill was instructed to participate in domestic-violence counseling and forbidden from making any contact with his former girlfriend, Darlene Luna, whom he had dated for about a year and a half.
According to the Associated Press, Luna sobbed on the witness stand as she testified that the 6-foot-10 Hill had never struck her until the alleged incident when he hit her legs with his fist, pulled her off a couch and then put her in a choke-hold from behind.
Each side had famous attorneys. Hill hired Rusty Hardin, the Houston lawyer who successfully defended Roger Clemens. Luna was represented by Gloria Allred who recently was retained by two of Tiger Woods' alleged mistresses.
"I've got to tell you, anybody experience in the criminal justice system would've been disgusted with what happened today," Hardin complained about Allred. "You have this deal where the publicity-seeking lawyer is hovering about her on the stand, and hugging her and giving her Kleenexes. Give me a break."
Allred in turn notified Hardin of their intention to file a civil lawsuit and said she hopes Hill will glean something from the experience.
"We hope that Mr. Hill will learn that an assault on a woman is always wrong and can result in criminal prosecution of him and serious consequences for his victim," she said. "We think that the time is long overdue for him to be fully accountable for his misconduct and we are glad that he has taken the first step by entering a plea today."
Hill was traded to the Lakers in March. In July the Lakers signed the 25-year-old power forward to a two-year $8 million contract and will probably get some playing time as the recently-acquired Dwight Howard recovers from surgery.
"Jordan simply wanted to put this behind him to play basketball," Hardin said. "The alternative is to have this be pending until the season is over and have a trial sometime next year."