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VIA: Washington Post

Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas was charged Thursday with felony gun possession, a crime that carries a maximum five years in jail and a fine, authorities said.

The charge was filed Thursday afternoon by the U.S. Attorney’s office for the District.

Arenas’s attorney and prosecutors had been negotiating a plea deal during the day and it was not immediately clear whether the filing of charges was a part of the deal. Court officials said they had been told to prepare to have Arenas in Superior Court on Friday.

The U.S. Attorney’s office alleged that on Dec. 21, Arenas “did carry, openly and concealed on or about his person, in a place other than his dwelling place, place of business or on other land possessed by him, a pistol, without license issued pursuant to law.”

The guns became an issue after Arenas and Wizards teammate Javaris Crittenton got into an argument after a card game and Crittenton allegedly said he should shoot Arenas in his surgically repaired left knee, sources have said. Days later on Dec. 21, at Verizon Center, Arenas placed the guns on a chair next to Crittenton’s locker with a note that said “pick one.”

A grand jury began hearing testimony in the case on Jan. 5. But Thursday’s charge came directly from prosecutors and was not part of a formal indictment.

Arenas’s attorney, Kenneth L. Wainstein, declined comment. Prosecutors so far have not commented.

Also Thursday, D.C. and Arlington police searched Crittenton’s home looking for the gun he reportedly used in the locker room confrontation with Arenas, according to sources familiar with the investigation and court papers.

Police did not find the gun at his Arlington home in the 7:15 a.m. search, Crittenton’s lawyer and the court papers said.

Reached through e-mail, Crittenton’s lawyer, Peter White, said he was not available to talk, but offered this statement:

“I can confirm that a search warrant was executed on Mr. Crittenton’s apartment today, that Mr. Crittenton cooperated with the officers conducting the search, and that no evidence was found or seized by police.”

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