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October 26, 2012

Gators offensive lineman arrested, facing two alcohol-related charges

Florida offensive lineman Trip Thurman, 20, is facing charges of possession of a driver's license or identification card with an altered date of birth and possession of alcohol by a person under the age of 21, Alachua County Court records show.

Both charges are second-degree misdemeanors.

Thurman, a redshirt freshman whose legal name is Frederick Alexander Thurman III, was originally charged on June 15 with a third-degree felony for possession of a forged driver's license or identification card after University of Florida police stopped Thurman's vehicle at the intersection of Gale Lemerand Drive and Stadium Road on UF's campus.

Trip Thurman (GatorZone.com)
It is unclear why Thurman was initially stopped, but when the officer who stopped him asked for his driver's license the officer noticed within Thurman's wallet "what appeared to be a forged Florida driver license" which "made Thurman over the age of 21 and in turn able to purchase alcoholic beverages," according to a UPD report.

The officer read Thurman his Miranda rights and afterward, according to the report, Thurman allegedly stated the license was a "fake" and that he "used the license to gain access into night clubs."

Gainesville attorney Huntley Johnson, who has represented numerous Florida athletes in the past, filed a written plea of not guilty in Alachua court on Thurman's behalf a little more than a week after the arrest. The felony charge was reduced to the misdemeanor charge, and Thurman accepted a deferred prosecution agreement on Sept. 25 that stated he must pay $50 in prosecution fees and donate $100 to a local not-for-profit organization called Pleasant Place or perform 10 hours of community service. The agreement also stated he must "refrain from, violating any federal or state law or county or municipal ordinance" for four months. If he met those requirements, the charge would be dropped from his record.

However, two days after signing the agreement, Thurman on Sept. 27 was issued a written arrest/notice to appear for allegedly being in possession of a beer at The Florida Theater at 233 W. University Ave. during a concert by country singer Corey Smith.

According to a Gainesille Police Department record, officer Lonnie Scott observed Thurman holding a half-full can of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer, and when he saw the officer, Thurman "immediately placed the drink down on the ground (next to his left foot) in an attempt to discard the alcoholic beverage." The report also states that Thurman had black "X's" on his hands to indicate that he was under the age of 21.

Because he violated the terms of his deferred prosecution agreement, it's likely Thurman will now be again facing the charge for misdemeanor possession of a forged driver's license. Both cases are listed as "open" in the Alachua County Court system, and a court date has been set for December 5 at 9 a.m.

A spokesperson for the Florida football program did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.

Thurman is the 10th player and 12th and 13th individual arrest since Will Muschamp took over for Urban Meyer as the Gators' head coach. He is the first player to be arrested since tight end A.C. Leonard was charged with domestic battery in February defensive tackle Leon Orr was cited in May for driving with a suspended license, breaking the agreement he signed following an arrest on marijuana charges in January.

Thurman appeared in four games as a freshman last season before undergoing shoulder surgery and taking a redshirt. He has not made a start but has appeared in three games this season, mostly on special teams. Thurman, 6-6, 320 pounds, was rated by Rivals.com as a four-star recruit out of Dover High in Dover, Del.

No. 3 Florida plays No. 12 Georgia at 3:30 p.m. Saturday in Jacksonville. The Gators can clinch the Southeastern Conference East division with a win.



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