How much, if any, will Michael Vick's role as financier of a brutal dogfighting ring hurt him? What about his use of drugs while awaiting sentencing?
Or will he benefit from his public apology? His cooperation? His voluntary early start on his prison term?
Answers to these questions, among others, will determine how much time the suspended Atlanta Falcons quarterback will serve in prison for his role in a federal dogfighting conspiracy.
And the only man who knows the answers is U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson, who will sentence Vick in a packed courtroom tomorrow while the disgraced NFL star's supporters and animal-rights activists rally outside.
Vick faces a maximum of five years in prison. Hudson is not bound by sentencing guidelines that suggest a year to 18 months, or prosecutors' recommendation.
Hudson already has sentenced two of Vick's co-defendants to 18 months and 21 months -- slightly more than prosecutors recommended, but still within the guidelines.
Legal experts said Hudson's willingness to stick to the guidelines in those cases is a positive sign for Vick, but by no means a guarantee he will get similar treatment because so many factors could work against him.
For example, Vick admitted he bankrolled the ``Bad Newz Kennels'' dogfighting enterprise on a 15-acre property he owned in rural southeastern Virginia. He also gave his associates money to bet on the fights but said he did not share in any winnings.