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ESPN sports personality Jay Mariotti charged with misdemeanor domestic battery

September 13, 2010 |  3:05 pm

City prosecutors have charged ESPN personality and sports columnist Jay Mariotti with seven  misdemeanors in connection with an incident last month in which he allegedly grabbed and shoved his live-in girlfriend, officials said Monday.

Mariotti, known for his unsparing commentary of athletes on ESPN's "Around the Horn," faces seven counts in all in connection with the domestic disturbance call last month at the couple's condominium near the Venice-Santa Monica border, said Frank Mateljian, spokesman for the Los Angeles city attorney's office.

Charges include two counts of domestic violence with injury, two counts of domestic violence, one count of grand theft, one count of false imprisonment and one count of vandalism. Each of the counts carries a maximum of a year in jail, meaning he could face up to seven years behind bars.

Mariotti is to be arraigned Friday at the downtown criminal courts building.

LAPD sources said the couple began fighting at a club in Santa Monica after Mariotti accused his girlfriend of flirting with another man. The argument continued outside the club and as the pair left in their car.

The argument continued at the couple's Venice-area apartment, where Mariotti allegedly pushed and shoved the woman. During the altercation, Mariotti grabbed her arm, leaving marks, the sources said.

Police were called to the apartment and found his girlfriend, who has not been identified, with cuts and bruises.

Mariotti originally was arrested on suspicion of felony domestic assault. He was released from jail on $50,000 bail. But the Los Angeles County district attorney's office said there was not enough evidence to charge him with a felony.

In addition to ESPN, Mariotti also writes for the sports website Fanhouse.com, where he is known for criticizing athletes for their actions on and off the field. In the past he wrote a sports column for the Denver Post and the Chicago Sun-Times.

-- Andrew Blankstein