Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Latest Donaghy allegation: FBI believed US Attorney's Office did "favors for the NBA"

Finally, something (ostensibly) newsworthy from former NBA referee Tim Donaghy's book tour.  Following a discussion of his allegations against other referees throughout his book, Donaghy (p.206) turns to why he believes these officials were never prosecuted:
"As a former federal prosecutor, (NBA-hired investigator) Larry Pedowitz had sway, the kind of juice that provides unique access to people who make decisions about things like whether or not to pursue a prosecution.  The FBI...wouldn't play the game.  Nevertheless, the U.S. Attorney had the final say.  Further prosecutions would be a 'no-go.'"
Donaghy later adds, "Maybe political strings were being pulled to make sure I was cemented in the public's mind as the 'lone assassin.'"  We can infer what Donaghy is saying above, namely that the FBI was apparently interested in pursuing cases against other NBA referees but lost the battle with the U.S. Attorney's Office, which declined to prosecute these individuals because they had been dissuaded from doing do by a former federal prosecutor hired by the NBA.

In a recent interview on The Chris Vernon Show (Memphis, 730 Fox Sports) posted online on January 4, 2010, Donaghy went considerably further than offering his personal opinion by explicitly stating,
"There was a lot of conflict with this whole investigation between the prosecutor and the FBI because (the FBI) felt that the prosecution was doing favors for the NBA."1
If it is true "the FBI" (i.e., not just Donaghy and not merely a current or former FBI agent) believed the U.S. Attorney's Office "was doing favors for the NBA" (against the wishes of the Bureau, no less), that would certainly be news.  It would also suggest that cooperating witness Donaghy was somehow privy to confidential aspects of a federal investigation, even as it was unfolding.  Of course, given Donaghy's problematic record of, to be polite, "misstatements" to date, all of this being true is a big "if".2

1. At 7:25 of part 2 of the interview.

2. In advance of much more from me on numerous Donaghy assertions, see, for example, my earlier comments here, here, here, and here.