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Nash to get out of jail

The Rays prospect will be released Sept. 20 after a plea bargain was reached. Team is reviewing the situation.

By KEVIN KELLY, Times Staff Writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published September 6, 2002

The Rays prospect will be released Sept. 20 after a plea bargain was reached. Team is reviewing the situation.

ST. PETERSBURG -- Highly touted and controversial Rays prospect Greg "Toe" Nash will be released from jail Sept. 20 as part of a plea bargain between his lawyers and a Louisiana district attorney. Whether he plays again in the Rays organization remains to be seen.

"That's a question you need to ask the Tampa Bay Devil Rays," Nash's agent, Larry Reynolds, said. "Regardless of what their position is, we feel Greg will have a strong future in baseball."

Rays director of player personnel Cam Bonifay said the Rays won't comment on Nash's status until reviewing the situation. They reinstated him from the suspended list last week, a move Bonifay said was procedural.

The 20-year-old Nash -- arrested in January and originally charged with aggravated rape of a 15-year-old girl, aggravated crime against nature and felony theft -- was sentenced Friday to serve 17 months on three counts of felony carnal knowledge of a juvenile.

Prosecutors agreed to reduce the charges after they experienced inconsistencies with the victim's story. Nash's sentence was further reduced with credit for time served and good behavior at the Ascension Parish Jail in Donaldsonville, La. "It's a very good resolution for Greg," one of Nash's attorney's, Arthur Lemann IV, said. "His confession was that he had consensual sex with the girl and it's what he's been saying along. ... But when you're 19 and you're with a 15-year-old it's easy to make a mistake."

Added Reynolds: "This confirms the fact that Greg's been telling us the truth all along. We're very pleased with the result."

Nash will remain on probation for five years upon his release from jail and must register as a sex offender for having consensual sex with a minor.

His probation can be transferred to Florida or any state in which he is employed, but he also will be subjected to substance-abuse treatment and random drug testing as a result of a guilty plea for a previous crime.

Nash made headlines in late 2000 when the Rays signed him out of a semipro league in rural Louisiana and also when details surfaced about five previous arrests.

-- Times staff writer Marc Topkin and researcher Kitty Bennett contributed to this report.

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