NEW YORK (AP) — Former Houston Rockets guard Kevin Porter Jr. has reached a plea deal in a New York City domestic assault case that will keep him out of jail if he completes a court-ordered treatment program and stays out of trouble.
Porter, 23, pleaded guilty Tuesday to misdemeanor assault and a harassment violation in connection with an incident last September at a Manhattan hotel. Prosecutors have said Porter attacked his girlfriend, leaving her covered in blood with a deep cut above her right eye. She has since denied that, accusing prosecutors of pushing a “false narrative.”
Under the agreement, Porter must complete a 26-week Abusive Partner Intervention Program or an equivalent program with a private counselor. He must also abide by a limited order of protection, attend all court dates and have no further arrests.
If Porter complies, he'll be able to withdraw his assault plea in a year and will be sentenced at that time to time served for the non-criminal harassment count, prosecutors said, effectively clearing his criminal record.
“The resolution will allow Mr. Porter to put this incident, which involved false felony allegations and false facts, behind him with no criminal record and move forward,” Porter’s lawyers, Phillip Jobe and Stephanie Kelemen, said in a statement.
Porter has not played since his arrest and is no longer on an NBA roster. The Rockets traded him in October to the Oklahoma City Thunder, which immediately cut him.
Porter was arrested Sept. 11 after police say his girlfriend, former WNBA player Kysre Gondrezick, told them he repeatedly punched her in the face with a closed fist, causing an inches-long gash above the right eye, bruising and substantial pain to her face.
Police said Gondrezick also alleged that Porter wrapped his hands around her neck and strangled her, causing her to have difficulty breathing, redness, bruising to her neck, and loss of motion to her left arm.
Gondrezick disputed that account, saying her injuries “don’t support any of those claims.” She said prosecutors were slow to correct “false information," pointing to the since-withdraw allegation in Porter's initial charges that he had fractured one of her neck vertebrae.
Messages seeking comment were left with Gondrezick's lawyer and the Manhattan district attorney's office.
Gondrezick told the New York Post in October that she and Porter argued “for not even 10 seconds” in their room at the Millennium Hilton near the United Nations. She told TMZ in November that her injuries were the result of falling and hitting her head when Porter startled her awake when he came back to the room after a night out.
“He didn’t hit me. He never balled his fists up and hit me,” Gondrezick told the Post. “And he definitely didn’t punch me in the face numerous times. That is a lie. I don’t have any injuries to support that.”
Porter and Gondrezick started dating in February 2022, according to an anniversary message she posted on X, the social media site formerly known as Twitter. She told TMZ that the Manhattan district attorney's office's handling of the case has “compounded my trauma even more than the actual experience.”
Last season, Porter averaged 19.2 points, 5.3 rebounds and 5.7 assists per game, earning a lucrative four-year extension with Houston.
In November 2020, while playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers, Porter was arrested after police said they found a loaded handgun and marijuana in his car after a single-vehicle crash. Porter claimed he didn’t know the gun was there, and the charges were eventually dismissed.
A 2019 first-round draft pick from the University of Southern California, Porter was traded from Cleveland to Houston a few months later after he reportedly blew up at the Cavaliers’ general manager after finding out that his locker had been moved to make room for a newly acquired player.
In April 2021, the NBA fined Porter $50,000 for violating the league’s COVID-19 health and safety rules by visiting a Miami strip club. In January 2022, the Rockets suspended Porter for a game after then-coach Stephen Silas said the player had a “spirited debate” and “lost his temper” at halftime.