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Arizona officials eyeing Donaghy's calls in Suns games

8/16/2007 - NBA Phoenix Suns

PHOENIX -- Former NBA referee Tim Donaghy could face charges
in Arizona's most populous county if investigations by the league
and FBI show that he deliberately miscalled two Phoenix Suns
playoff games this year, authorities said.

In federal court Wednesday in New York, Donaghy pleaded guilty
to two felony charges Wednesday in connection with an NBA betting
scandal.

Donaghy faces a maximum of 25 years in prison when he's
sentenced for conspiracy to engage in wire fraud and transmitting
waging information through interstate commerce.

Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas has sent letters to NBA
Commissioner David Stern and the head of the FBI in Washington,
saying he wants to know whether Donaghy gambled on the two Suns
road playoff games, provided inside information to gamblers or
helped determine the outcome by making bad officiating calls.

Thomas said the games in question are the April 29 game against
the Los Angeles Lakers and the May 12 game against the San Antonio
Spurs.

The Suns beat the Lakers 113-110 in the April 29 game, but lost
to the Spurs 108-101 on May 12 in Game 3 of the Western Conference
semifinals.

Thomas said that if Donaghy "purposely failed to officiate the
games properly and his conduct resulted in changing the outcome of
the games, such conduct might have violated Arizona criminal
statutes and could be the subject of criminal prosecution."

Special Assistant County Attorney Barnett Lotstein said
Arizona's "long arm statute" allows the county to prosecute in
such cases.

"If any element of the crime happened in our county, we have
jurisdiction," Lotstein said.

Among the possible felony charges are fraudulent schemes and
artifices, which carry a possible prison sentence of 3 to 10 years;
and bribery of participants in professional or amateur games, which
carries a possible prison term of 1 to 3½ years, according to
Arizona authorities.