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NBA PLAYOFFS

Albert to Work Playoff Games

Jurisprudence: Sportscaster facing sex, assault charges says he's innocent and was not given chance to respond to allegations.

May 23, 1997|JOHN J. GOLDMAN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

NEW YORK — Veteran sportscaster Marv Albert declared his innocence of sex and assault charges Thursday, and NBC announced he will be allowed to continue broadcasting the NBA playoffs.

Declaring at a crowded and well-choreographed news conference that he was wrongly accused, Albert decried a "lack of due process."

"I would like to reassert my innocence and reiterate all the charges against me are false and will be proven false in a court of law," he said.

Albert appeared in public for the first time since the accusations were brought against him.

"No one, neither police nor prosecutors, even approached me or my representatives at any time before the allegations were made public on Tuesday," he said.

"Nor was I heard from by the grand jury that indicted me. Had I spoken to the grand jurors, I would have told then what I'm telling you now--I'm innocent."

Albert read a five-paragraph statement into the lenses of 27 television cameras while about 100 reporters crowded a ballroom of a mid-Manhattan hotel a short distance from NBC.

Albert declined to answer questions pending his arraignment in Arlington, Va., on Tuesday.

The 53-year-old sportscaster was indicted on charges of forcible sodomy and assault. His accuser is a 41-year-old woman who says she has been his friend for years. She told detectives she was attacked in an Arlington hotel room Feb. 12.

Albert's accuser faces criminal charges in a separate case--allegations that she threatened to murder a former boyfriend, who is a Washington, D.C., police officer.

In supporting Albert, NBC noted he was never afforded the opportunity to discuss the facts with police or prosecuting attorneys.

"He is now required to defend himself in a courtroom in the near future," the network said in a statement. "Given these facts, Marv will broadcast the NBA playoffs on NBC continuing this Saturday in Miami."

Gerard Treanor, a Washington-area defense counsel for 20 years, challenged the way in which the charges were brought against his client.

"I can tell you that . . . I have never seen charges brought in the manner in which these charges have been brought," he said.

"There has been no effort to determine the credibility of the complaint."

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