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Thursday, August 16, 2007
Arizona officials eyeing Donaghy's calls in Suns games

Associated Press

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.

Donaghy's Game Log

Tim Donaghy left a record that shows he was often involved in games that displayed, in one expert's view, "abnormal" results on betting lines. A look at NBA games he officiated in the 2006-07 season. List

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.