Lawyer: “Mariotti struck his girlfriend in the face”

More details continue to bleed out about Jay Mariotti’s allegedly violent confrontation with his girlfriend the night of August 21 in Los Angeles.

Jay Mariotti Criminal Complaint

(Official criminal complaint against Mariotti)

As part of a plea bargain on Thursday Mariotti, pleaded no contest - which has the same effect as a guilty plea -to a misdemeanor domestic violence charge against his girlfriend in exchange for the L.A. City Attorney dropping six additional charges involving or related to domestic violence. Mariotti was sentenced to community service, three years probation and ordered to take a year-long domestic violence awareness class.

Mariotti was initially arrested on suspicion of felony domestic assault. He was released from jail the morning of August 22 on $50,000 bail.

Following Mariotti’s no contest plea, the attorney for the now-acknowledged victim has come forward with new details of what allegedly happened during the altercation on the night in question.

The LOS ANGELES TIMES reports lawyer Leonard Levine said that Mariotti was “both emotional and verbal abuse” to his client.

Levine said that before police intervened in August, Mariotti struck his girlfriend in the face, which resulted in a visible bruise. Mariotti also grabbed and pulled his girlfriend by the hair, destroyed her personal property, and attempted to prevent her from escaping and calling police, according to Levine. Ultimately, he said, a bystander witnessed what was going on and called police.

Levine called the incident “a far cry” from the description put forth by the ESPN personality’s legal camp, which described the victim as being drunk and abusive toward the sports commentator.

According to police, the case grew out of an argument that the couple had at a club in Santa Monica during which Mariotti accused his girlfriend of flirting with another man.

In the end, (Mariotti attorney Nick) Hanna said his client pleaded to a “low-level misdemeanor.”

Levine called that “demeaning to women who face domestic abuse.”

Friday I noted that ESPN management has decided terminate Mariotti’s association with the network - meaning he will no longer serve as a regular panelist on the network’s Around The Horn production nor appear on any other ESPN programming.

Despite that internal decision by ESPN, I’ve been told that network executives have not formally informed Mariotti of their decision as he is not currently under contract with ESPN. Perhaps resigned to his ouster, Mariotti has also yet to formally inquire about his status at the network.

Also last week I reported that Mariotti’s hasty plea bargain was designed as an attempt to save his position as an AOL Fanhouse columnist. Fanhouse editors support bringing back Mariotti to his high profile position as the website’s lead columnist and are seeking approval to that end from AOL execs.

AOL has yet to comment publicly about Mariotti’s status with the network.