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May 20, 2008

NBA on trial at bad ref's federal sentencing

This New York Times article about the defense submission in preparation for the sentencing of former ref Tim Donaghy suggests the NBA is being indirectly put on trial.  Here are the details:

A lawyer for the former N.B.A. referee Tim Donaghy suggested in court papers Monday that games had been influenced by relationships among referees, coaches and players, and that other factors had “prevented games from being played on a level playing field.”  The league immediately denounced the charges as unfounded.

According to documents filed by the lawyer, John Lauro, Donaghy provided law enforcement officials with information about N.B.A. matters outside of the government’s original investigation.  That included information about the gambling activities of other referees and an instance in which confidential information was suspected of being passed from a referee to a coach.

Lauro filed a letter and several attachments as part of a sentencing memorandum, which is to be considered by United States District Judge Carol B. Amon.  Donaghy, who pleaded guilty last August to two felony charges, is to be sentenced July 14.  Donaghy could face up to 25 years in prison and a $500,000 fine for receiving payments for inside information on N.B.A. games, including some that he officiated.  But he is expected to receive a much lighter sentence because he cooperated with the authorities.

In a footnote to the document, Lauro suggested that the N.B.A. might have “pressured” the United States attorney’s office “into shutting down this prosecution to avoid the disclosure of information unrelated to Tim’s conduct.”...

The N.B.A. dismissed all of Lauro’s charges without responding to specific statements.  “The letter filed today on Mr. Donaghy’s behalf contains an assortment of lies, unfounded allegations and facts that have been previously acknowledged, such as the fact that certain N.B.A. referees engaged in casino gambling in violation of N.B.A. rules,” Joel Litvin, the N.B.A. president for league and basketball operations, said in a statement. “The letter is the desperate act of a convicted felon who is hoping to avoid prison time, and the only thing it proves is that Mr. Donaghy is no more trustworthy today than he was when he was breaking the law by betting on N.B.A. games.”

In his letter, Lauro wrote that Donaghy “provided substantial assistance” to the government and asked the judge to impose only probation.  “We believe that Tim’s information will lead to future reforms that will change the way in which the N.B.A. conducts itself,” Lauro wrote....

Lauro pointed out that the other defendants in the case, Thomas Martino and James Battista, who did not cooperate with the authorities, were subject to sentences far less severe than that of Donaghy. The prosecutors, Lauro wrote, are “taking a unique approach — punish an early and truthful cooperator more severely than other defendants who acted contrary to the interests of the government.”

May 20, 2008 at 08:45 AM | Permalink


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are you posting the link to his sentencing memorandum?

Posted by: | May 20, 2008 10:15:05 AM

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Posted by: M Martin | Sep 29, 2008 9:04:59 PM

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