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Sunday, August 3, 2008
FBI Veteran: Tim Donaghy is Telling the Truth


In the New York Daily News, John Marzulli reports:

The man who put away John Gotti, baby-sat Sammy (Bull) Gravano, raided an Al Qaeda bomb factory and helped uncover the NBA betting scandal says Tim Donaghy told the truth.

Philip Scala, the recently retired FBI supervisory special agent in charge of the Gambino squad, which uncovered Donaghy's scheme of betting on basketball games he had officiated, said he believes the disgraced referee's claims that other refs were dirty.

That's one of those moments when, if you work in PR for the NBA, you might swallow a little hard.

Scala is experienced talking to and assessing criminals, and, most importantly he has a highly respected name that's he's willing to use in the paper.

That's not good if you're the NBA. The rest of the article is well worth a read, and it's certainly interesting. Somewhat mercifully for the NBA, at this point the evidence appears not to go far beyond Scala's gut feeling, based on having spent time with Donaghy, and being aware of much more of this investigation than has been public. There is no smoking gun piece of evidence.

I also found this passage interesting: 

... when prosecutors wrote a letter to the federal judge outlining Donaghy's cooperation, defense lawyer John Lauro was outraged that the information about other NBA referees and officials had been omitted simply because no criminal charges were brought.

"Donaghy, for some reason, looked up to me," Scala said. "He came to me one day and said, 'It means a lot to me if you could answer this question: Do you believe that I've told the truth?' I told him, 'I believe you.'

"I wanted to know why he was asking, and he said, 'I'd appreciate it if you'd call my dad' -- and I did that for him," Scala said.

 Tim Donaghy's father has been talking to the press lately, too.