Kellen Winslow Jr. back in court, but ruling on possession charge delayed

HANOVER – Former Jets tight end Kellen Winslow Jr. made a cameo appearance in municipal court Thursday to answer charges he was in possession of banned synthetic marijuana last fall, but a ruling was postponed for one last battle, staged in briefs, between the defense and prosecutors.

Defense attorney Harvey Steinberg said he will argue in his submission to the court that the substance found in Winslow’s car in the parking lot outside Target in East Hanover was not on the banned substance list at the time.

Municipal Judge Vincent A. Pirone, agitated that the case “goes back quite a ways,” told Steinberg he had three weeks to submit his brief. Prosecutors then would have five days to respond, and Pirone said he would rule by April 24, based solely on the paperwork. Steinberg, who has represented several other NFL players in court, had asked for 30 days.

The discussion took roughly three minutes.

Winslow -- who was dressed for his appearance in a red-and-black checked shirt, jeans and sneakers -- was charged when police responded to a report by a woman on Nov. 19 that she believed Winslow was masturbating in his vehicle outside Target.

When police arrived at the Route 10 department store, officers found Winslow, in sweat pants with his genitals covered, they said. When told what the woman had claimed, Winslow denied he had been masturbating and said he had been smoking and changed clothes so that he didn’t smell like smoke before returning home, police said. He added he had become lost while looking for the nearby Boston Market.

No charges were filed in connection to the masturbation claim.

Lab tests that came back on Dec. 23 revealed Winslow was in possession of synthetic marijuana, prosecutors said. He was formally charged on Dec. 30, and pleaded not guilty before a judge in Superior Court in Morristown in January.

When the incident report was released on Jan. 17 and the masturbation claim was reported by, Winslow released a statement calling it “ridiculous.” When approached for further comment before court began Thursday, Winslow said, “Hold on,” and ducked into the courtroom to meet with his attorneys.

After court, Winslow refused comment on his legal matters, and also deflected football questions. Steinberg also refused comment.

When asked if he had become a free agent as expected on Tuesday, Winslow replied, “Yeah, I’m free,” and left the municipal building.

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