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"We anticipate that the judge's sentencing decision, together with the changes we have made to our referee operations staff, will enable us to continue with the improvements we are making to our anti-gambling rules, policies and procedures," Stern said Tuesday.
"There is little comfort to be gained from the mandatory prison sentence, especially as it affects Mr. Donaghy's children and their mother, but hopefully the healing process can begin in earnest for all."
The NBA could get a break from the Olympics, where the U.S. team is a heavy favorite to bounce back from a bronze-medal performance in 2004 and win the gold. MVP Kobe Bryant and all-star LeBron James, who has guaranteed victory, will lead a loaded U.S. team.
Donaghy pleaded guilty last August to conspiracy to engage in wire fraud and transmitting betting information through interstate commerce in the tips-for-payoffs scheme. "By having this nonpublic information, I was in a unique position to predict the outcome of NBA games," he told a judge at the time.
Lauro said that to clear his conscience, Donaghy began cooperating with prosecutors even before he was charged, and claimed he "provided the government a roadmap" to widespread misconduct in the NBA.
"He told it all -- the good, the bad and the ugly," Lauro said. "He had to do it because it was the right thing to do ... The bottom line is that Mr. Donaghy has been a model cooperator."
Prosecutors have said that though he deserved credit for helping make the case against two co-defendants -- both former high school classmates of Donaghy -- nothing else he alleged was criminal.
At a sentencing last week, James Battista, a professional gambler and admitted drug addict, got 15 months in prison for making bets based on inside tips. Thomas Martino, the scheme's middleman, was sentenced to a year and one day for paying the referee thousands of dollars for the tips. The three men attended school together in Springfield, Pa.
On Tuesday, the judge called Donaghy "more culpable" than the others. "Without Mr. Donaghy, there was no scheme," she said.
The league had demanded nearly $1.4 million in restitution. But the judge last week set the restitution at $217,266, to be paid jointly by the three defendants.
"Tim acted in a completely selfish and unforgivable way, and has forever compromised the way people look at sports and officiating," said Lamell McMorris, spokesperson for the National Basketball Referees Association. "However, NBA referees will continue to officiate with the highest level of integrity and professionalism."
Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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