Linebacker Aldon Smith of the 49ers will not face felony charges in connection with allegedly making a false bomb threat at the Los Angeles airport, prosecutors announced Thursday.
But he still could face a misdemeanor charge because making a false bomb threat is a "wobbler'' that can be treated as either a felony or a misdemeanor.
Thursday's decision by the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office not to press felony charges means the case now moves for consideration to the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office. All misdemeanors committed within Los Angeles city limits are handled by the city attorney, unlike in Santa Clara County, where the district attorney handles criminal misdemeanors.
Frank Mateljan, a spokesman for the Los Angeles City Attorney's office, said it could take a week or two for prosecutors there to review the case and make a decision about whether to issue charges.
The incident at the airport unfolded April 13. Smith was going through a random second screening at the airport when he allegedly asked the TSA agent, "Are you going to search me further?"
"That's not necessary," the agent responded, LAX police Sgt. Karla Ortiz told CSN Bay Area.
Smith's response, according to Ortiz: "Why not? I have a bomb."
The incident might normally be written off as relatively minor.
But sources familiar with the Los Angeles investigation say the murder of a TSA agent on Nov. 1 has heightened sensitivities. The gunman, Paul Anthony Ciancia, 23, killed TSA agent Gerardo I. Hernandez, 39.
Ciancia faces charges of murder of a federal officer and committing a violent act at an international airport. If convicted, he could face life in prison or the death penalty.
Smith remains free on $20,000 bail, which he posted about five hours after being arrested for the alleged false bomb threat during security screening.
The fourth-year linebacker has been participating in the 49ers' off-season training program, which began this week.
He already faces felony charges in Santa Clara County in connection with two separate incidents.
Smith is charged with illegal possession of three assault rifles, which were discovered in 2012 after gang members crashed a party at his house, stabbing him and shooting other guests. Smith was considered a victim in that case, orginally putting prosecutors in a quandary about whether to charge him.
But while Smith was waiting to hear his fate on the gun charges, he was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving, effectively ruining any chance of avoiding prosecution for the guns.