Ex-USC star enters not guilty plea

Times Staff Writer

Former USC and Los Angeles Raiders quarterback Todd Marinovich, who has long battled drug problems, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to felony and misdemeanor charges stemming from an arrest Sunday in Newport Beach.

Police said they saw Marinovich, 38, skateboarding and carrying a guitar case about 1:15 a.m. Sunday near the Newport Pier boardwalk. Skateboarding is not allowed on the boardwalk, and Marinovich fled to the carport of a nearby home.

Police found Marinovich, searched him and discovered a small amount of methamphetamine, a metal spoon and a hypodermic needle, said Newport Beach Police Sgt. Evan Sailor.


Marinovich was charged with felony possession of a controlled substance and unauthorized possession of a hypodermic needle and resisting a police officer, both misdemeanors. He is being held in lieu of $50,000 bail at Orange County Jail.

Marinovich was known for being groomed almost from birth to play professional football. After leading USC to victory in the 1990 Rose Bowl, Marinovich became the Raiders’ first-round pick in the 1991 draft. His career quickly fizzled, however, and he became better known for his drug arrests and lost potential.

When Marinovich was arrested for drug possession in Newport Beach in 2005 -- his fifth drug arrest -- 23 of his college teammates put up money to help pay for drug treatment, allowing him to avoid jail time.

He walked out of his residential treatment program in September 2005, violating his probation and sentence.

He disappeared for three weeks before he surrendered to authorities and was returned to jail.