Benoit Update: Dr. Astin, ESPN/CNN Coverage, More

Ryan Clark

There has been continued media coverage of the Chris Benoit situation on the 24/7 networks today on Fox News, CNN and MSNBC. I caught a segment on Fox News earlier this afternoon where they had a roundtable discussion with attorneys and a judge. The judge seemed to think that with so much attention on this story happening right now that regulation is a definite possibility in wrestling with outside parties getting involved.

ESPN is said to be working on a story right now about Benoit and steroids in wrestling. CNN is slated to present a story very soon as well looking at recent deaths in the business.

Probably the biggest thing tonight in the media is “Larry King Live” tonight on CNN at 9:00pm ET/8:00pm CT featuring WWE Champion John Cena, Bret Hart and Chris Jericho (Marc Mero and Ted DiBiase had been promoted before but are not advertised on for tonight’s show).

The following was issued by the Associated Press today: ATLANTA (AP) – A lawyer for the personal doctor to pro wrestler Chris Benoit said today his client has no plans at this time to plead guilty to improperly prescribing medication to two other patients, but he didn’t rule out the idea down the road. Manny Arora, Doctor Phil Astin’s attorney, told The Associated Press today “There will be no plea of this unless that is the appropriate thing to do based on the case, and we have no evidence that that is the case.” A federal magistrate judge today scheduled a pretrial conference in Astin’s case for July 19th and asked both sides to, among other things, “confer regarding the probable disposition of the case.” The judge also wrote that he wants the sides to come to the hearing prepared to discuss the “probability of disposition of the case without trial.” Arora said that is a standard request by a judge. He said he needs documents and other evidence gathered by federal prosecutors before moving forward in the case. Arora suggested he may ask for a postponement of the hearing if he doesn’t get some materials before then. He said “I can’t talk about a disposition until I actually see what the evidence is.” A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Patrick Crosby, declined to comment today on whether that office would consider a plea deal in the Astin case. Astin was charged last week with improperly prescribing medications to two patients, but not Benoit. More charges are possible later. Astin pleaded not guilty at his first court appearance.

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