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Referee claims are referred

June 18, 2008|Lance Pugmire

After determining state charges were not possible because of the statute of limitations, the Los Angeles County district attorney's office has referred Tim Donaghy's claims of NBA referee misconduct to federal prosecutors in Los Angeles, a spokeswoman said Tuesday.

"We believed it needed to be looked at," said Sandi Gibbons, the district attorney's office spokeswoman. "There could be fraud, or theft. We do not know if federal crimes were involved."

The referral was first reported by Newsday on its website.

A spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office in Los Angeles declined to comment about how his office will treat the information. Last week, the attorney for Donaghy, a former NBA referee now awaiting sentencing in a gambling scandal, claimed in a letter to a federal judge that referees "manipulated" the outcome of the Lakers' Game 6 Western Conference finals win over the Sacramento Kings in 2002. They called fouls that gave the Lakers a staggering 27 fourth-quarter free throws at Staples Center, the letter said.

The state statute of limitations for felonies is three years, Gibbons said, but federal prosecutors may have more time to pursue a prosecution.

-- Lance Pugmire

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