- Ariel Bond/Daily
BY DEVON THORSBY
Daily Staff Reporter
Published December 3, 2009
Former Michigan football player Mike Milano had tears of joy in his eyes as he received a minimal sentence in Washtenaw County Circuit Court yesterday for an aggravated assault conviction he was found guilty of in October.
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Milano was sentenced to pay a $200 fine and other court costs for his Oct. 22 misdemeanor conviction.
The charge stems from an incident that occurred outside of Rick’s American Café on Oct. 12, 2008 that left Michigan hockey player Steve Kampfer in the hospital with closed-head injuries. Milano confronted Kampfer for being physically aggressive with Kampfer’s former girlfriend outside of the bar.
A verbal argument ensued, and when Kampfer turned to walk away, Milano attacked him.
A trial jury acquitted Milano of felony assault charges, but convicted him of the lesser charge.
Kampfer was not present in the courtroom for Milano’s sentencing, but Washtenaw County Assistant Prosecutor Paul Barnett read a statement from Kampfer concerning Milano’s pending sentence.
In the statement, Kampfer pointed out his suffering that resulted from his injuries, including limited ability to move his neck, paranoia and post-traumatic stress disorder. He wrote that Milano was not at all apologetic for his actions and that he feared being attacked from behind again in the future.
“At this time I am scared to death of being attacked again by you, Mr. Milano,” the statement read.
Milano remained straight-faced as he listened to Barnett read Kampfer’s statement, which repeatedly asserted that Milano was fueled by “liquid courage” the night of the incident and that Milano was likely to commit a similar crime again in the future.
In the statement, Kampfer suggested Milano be sentenced to 10 weeks incarceration, to account for the “weeks (he) could not live (his) life.” He also requested Milano receive five years probation as well as anger management and alcohol counseling.
John Shea, Milano’s attorney, grew noticeably agitated as he responded to Barnett’s request for both incarceration and an extended probationary period, raising his voice as he insisted that Milano has shown remorse for the injuries Kampfer sustained.
Shea reminded the court that multiple witnesses during trial proceedings said Kampfer was “abusing” his former girlfriend. Shea said Milano confronted Kampfer only to stop him from hurting the woman.
“No good deed goes unpunished,” Shea said. “I believe Mr. Milano faces that now.”
Shea said Milano had essentially been on probation for the past 13 months —the time since the incident occurred — and that further probation would be excessive.
Just before Judge David Swartz made his decision, Milano said he apologized to Kampfer by e-mail within days of the incident, adding that the injuries he caused were unintentional.
“I absolutely never intended to hurt Steven Kampfer,” Milano said. “My only intent was to protect a girl who he was coming to harm … and protect myself.”
Before announcing Milano’s sentence, Swartz said he agreed with Shea that Milano had no intention of causing Kampfer harm and had since shown remorse for the injuries Kampfer sustained.
Swartz cited a statement read by a probationary counselor who interviewed Milano concerning the incident, who said the injuries Milano inflicted “were not vicious, predatory or intentional in nature.”
In a phone interview with The Michigan Daily after the trial, Shea said while Milano is happy to not face a more severe sentence, the conviction itself still does not sit well with him.
“Mr. Milano continues to believe he should not have been convicted, but the jury disagreed,” Shea said. “But all things considered, we are very happy with the outcome.”
Swartz has stated before that he believes Milano to be innocent of all charges.
Immediately following the close of the jury conviction on Oct. 22, Swartz recommended that Milano file an order to have the conviction expunged in five years, which he said he would be happy to sign.