Author`s name Alex Naumov

Ex-NBA ref Donaghy to plead guilty for wagered on games he officiated

Former NBA referee Tim Donaghy planned to plead guilty in federal court on Wednesday to charges alleging he wagered on games he officiated, a person familiar with the betting scandal probe said.

Donaghy was to surrender at Brooklyn federal court, the person said on condition of anonymity because charges had not been made public yet.

NBA spokesman Tim Frank told the AP the league was informed Tuesday that Donaghy would plead Wednesday but was given no further information.

Donaghy's attorney, John Lauro, and federal prosecutors declined to comment. NBA commissioner David Stern said last month the referee's lawyer told the league his client was contemplating a plea.

Besides allegedly placing his own wagers, investigators also examined whether Donaghy provided inside information to others, including referees' schedules. The referee had a gambling problem and was approached by low-level mob associates through an acquaintance, a law enforcement official said.

The FBI first contacted the NBA on June 20 to talk about a referee alleged to be gambling on games, and the two sides met on June 21, Stern said last month. Donaghy resigned July 9 after 13 years as a referee, though Stern said he would have fired him sooner but was told it might affect the investigation.

Stern blamed a "rogue, isolated criminal" for the betting scandal that has devastated the league and threatened the credibility of every referee.

Donaghy was rated in the top tier of officials, Stern said, and there was nothing suspicious about the frequency of his foul calls. He was assigned to work in the second round of the playoffs, with his last NBA game coming during the Phoenix-San Antonio Western Conference semifinal, the AP reports.

The News reported Donaghy and two men linked to him in the betting scandal, Tommy Martino and James Battista, are expected to put themselves in custody with Donaghy pleading guilty. All three were 1980s schoolmates.

Betting trends around games involving Donaghy led gamblers and authorities to question the referee's gambling connections.

Donaghy's actions call into question the scores of more than 140 games in the past two seasons, during which he is alleged to have bet on games and aided others in doing so, the AFP reported.

Donaghy, 40, will appear before Brooklyn Federal Judge Carol Amon on Wednesday on gambling-related charges, the Post reported.

Source: agencies

Prepared by Alexander Timoshik

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