Lawrence Taylor

AP Photo/Craig Ruttle

Lawrence Taylor's Hail Mary pass worked.

In a deal that will keep him out of prison, the NFL Hall of Famer and Dancing With the Stars alum pleaded guilty Thursday to misdemeanor sexual misconduct and soliciting a prostitute, maintaining all the way that he thought the underage girl involved was 19.

Prosecutors agreed to drop the even uglier charges of third-degree rape and endangering the welfare of a minor in exchange for Taylor's plea. And though he's expected to be sentenced to six years' probation instead of four years behind bars, the former Giants great will have to register as a sex offender.

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"We made a decision to aggressively prosecute this case, notwithstanding a defendant in the public eye," Rockland County District Attorney Thomas P. Zugibe said in a statement after court.

"Today's agreed-upon plea reflects that. It is up to law enforcement and prosecutors to fight the demand that drives the underage sex business. Prostitution implies the young women as being complicit. But these young women, and sometimes young men, are victims, not criminals."

Prosecutor Arthur Ferraro told ESPN that Taylor has been "of assistance in the field of human trafficking in several jurisdictions and with federal authorities" since his May 6 arrest.

He was also ordered to pay $1,300 in fines. Sentencing has been scheduled for March 22.

Taylor's attorney, Arthur Aidala, said that he would try to have his client's probation transferred to his home state of Florida. They passed on a plea deal last month that would have landed Taylor in jail for six months and on probation for 10 years.

The two-time Super Bowl winner was accused of paying a pimp $300 to have sex with a 16-year-old runaway at a Montebello, N.Y., motel. He pleaded not guilty in July to felony charges of third-degree rape and engaging in a criminal sexual act, as well as misdemeanor counts of third-degree sexual abuse, endangering the welfare of a child and patronizing a prostitute.

The alleged pimp, Rasheed Davis, has since been hit with federal sex-trafficking charges.

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