FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — A contrite Chad Johnson apologized Monday for disrespecting a judge when the former NFL star slapped his attorney on the backside in court last week and was released from jail after only a week instead of 30 days.
Broward County Circuit Judge Kathleen McHugh accepted Johnson’s apology and cut back his jail term for a probation violation to the seven days he had already served since the rear-swatting. Johnson, a flamboyant wide receiver formerly known as Chad Ochocinco, said in court that he’d had time to think about why his flippant attitude was wrong — especially in a domestic violence case.
“I just wanted to apologize for disrespecting the court last time,” said Johnson, wearing a tan jail jumpsuit with his hands shackled at the waist. “I apologize. I did have time to reflect on the mistakes I made in this courtroom.”
Johnson walked out of jail shortly after 4 p.m. and was met by his attorney, Adam Swickle, and sports agent Drew Rosenhaus. Johnson told reporters he was thankful to McHugh because she was the first person to get him to slow down and think about the path his life was taking.
“No one has been able to do it, not even my parents,” he said. “I thank her. Everything she did was justified.”
Asked if he hoped to latch on with an NFL team, Johnson said, “I just have to say my next move, my best move.”
McHugh noted that in a previous hearing, Johnson put his arm around a female prosecutor’s shoulders, prompting her to tell him twice not to touch her. The judge also pointed out that when Johnson head-butted his then-wife, Evelyn Lozada of the reality TV show “Basketball Wives,” she suffered a three-inch gash on her head that required eight stitches. The judge called those injuries horrific.