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NBA notebook

Referee assailed in filing

Donaghy 'central' to betting scandal

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Associated Press / June 28, 2008

Disgraced NBA referee Tim Donaghy has exaggerated his cooperation in a gambling investigation in hopes of lessening his prison term and avoiding paying hefty restitution, prosecutors said in court papers filed yesterday.

He also has minimized his own role in the scheme, according to the filing in Brooklyn federal court.

Prosecutors rebuffed defense arguments that Donaghy should get a break on his sentence for voluntarily coming forward and giving prosecutors inside dirt about alleged game-fixing and other misconduct by other referees and league officials.

In the court papers, prosecutors said that by the time Donaghy decided to cooperate last year, "the government had a clear understanding of the criminal conspiracy, and who was involved." Though he deserves credit for giving investigators information on his two co-defendants, his claims of other internal NBA corruption "did not lead to evidence of prosecutable federal offenses," the papers added.

Donaghy, 41, pleaded guilty last year to felony charges of taking cash payoffs from gamblers in the 2006-07 season. He faces up to 33 months in prison at sentencing, set for July 14.

His attorney, John Lauro, has argued that it's unfair that Donaghy's co-defendants, a professional gambler and a middleman who also pleaded guilty, are facing less time - up to 16 months and up to 18 months, respectively. Their sentencing is scheduled for July 11.

But the government papers filed argued the disparity makes sense because Donaghy was the plot's central figure.

"It was only Donaghy, by virtue of his position as an NBA referee, who had access to nonpublic and other inside information on which he based his gambling picks, and it was only Donaghy who had a duty to provide honest services to his employer, the NBA," prosecutors wrote. "Without Donaghy, the scheme simply could not have been carried out."

Seattle waits for judge

A point man for Seattle's efforts to keep the SuperSonics in town isn't exactly worrying while he awaits a federal judge's decision next week on whether the team will stay or move immediately to Oklahoma City.

"Some will go back to work. And some will party. I'll do a little of both," Seattle Deputy Mayor Tim Ceis joked after the end of the trial over the remaining two years on the Sonics' lease at KeyArena.

Fans in Seattle are looking for a reason to party after a testy six-day court battle with team owner Clay Bennett. Now both sides are joining the NBA and fans of the city's oldest professional sports team in waiting for US District Court Judge Marsha Pechman's ruling, which she will post on the court's website Wednesday at 7 p.m.

Horry won't retire

San Antonio Spurs forward Robert Horry has decided against retirement and wants to return to the NBA for a 17th season, a Houston television station reported. Horry is set to become a free agent Tuesday. "I don't want to retire, especially after a year like I had last year," Horry told KRIV-TV. "I know I could have had a better year." The defending champion Spurs lost in the Western Conference finals to the Los Angeles Lakers in five games. Horry averaged 2.5 points a game last season, 1.5 during the playoffs. He turns 38 in August . . . The New Jersey Nets extended a qualifying offer to restricted free agent center Nenad Krstic, allowing them to match any contract proposal from another team. Krstic had major knee surgery during the 2006-07 season. The injury limited him to 45 games last season. Krstic, the Nets' first pick in 2002, has averaged 11.3 points and 5.7 rebounds over the past four seasons.

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