Donaghy accused of probation violation

Updated: August 25, 2009, 7:11 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

TAMPA, Fla. -- Disgraced former NBA referee Tim Donaghy was back behind bars Tuesday, accused of violating his federal probation by not showing up for work, the U.S. Marshals Service said.

His lawyer said it was all a misunderstanding.

Donaghy
Donaghy

Donaghy, 42, was being held without bond a day after his arrest at a halfway house in Tampa where he was finishing his 15-month sentence for gambling charges.

"He was supposed to be at work and he was somewhere else," said Deputy U.S. Marshal Ron Lindbak, who didn't know any more details. Jail records said Donaghy is in sales at the Sarasota-based beverage company ShotPak. Calls to company executives there were not immediately returned.

Donaghy's attorney, John Lauro, told ESPN.com's Mike Fish that his client had permission to miss work.

"He has been working and obeying all the rules, but he has a very, very bad knee problem that needs surgery," Lauro said. "He was beaten up in jail by a guy that claimed he was angry at Tim for cooperating. The guy beat him up pretty bad with a pipe, busted up his knee. He needs surgery.

"So he wanted to go to a health club to work out with a trainer or physical therapist. The health club is right near the halfway house. And he told the folks at the halfway house what he was doing, that he was going to this place. He thought he had permission. He gave them advance warning. And one of the employees at the halfway house saw him at the health club and said 'You don't have permission.' The halfway house decided that he was in violation of the rules, so they picked him up."

A New York judge sentenced Donaghy last year after the referee said he took thousands of dollars from a professional gambler in exchange for inside tips on NBA games -- including games he worked. Donaghy said he was a gambling addict.

He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to engage in wire fraud and transmitting betting information through interstate commerce in the tips-for-payoffs scheme.

He was released from a federal prison in Pensacola to the halfway house in June. He was scheduled for release on Oct. 24.

Lauro said Donaghy will stay in prison until the situation is resolved.

"They should decide within the next 10 days," he said. "We're hoping that they will recognize it was a misunderstanding and he'll be back in the halfway house. He gave them advance notice of where he was going. It's not like he was AWOL or missing in action."

Mike Fish is an investigative reporter for ESPN.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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