Entertainment & Sports Law

NBA Refs Lawyer Up in Betting Probe

The nation’s professional basketball referees have hired a criminal lawyer after an NBA announcement last week that it was retaining one of New York’s powerhouse corporate law firms to review the league’s gambling policies and its hiring, training and oversight of officials.

Former federal prosecutor Gregory T. Magarity will represent the National Basketball Referees Association in the review, reports the Philadelphia Daily News. Magarity previously served as an assistant U.S. attorney in Philadelphia.

Lawrence Pedowitz, a former federal prosecutor now working at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, will spearhead the review for the National Basketball Association, reports the New York Post. He was previously the chief of the criminal division at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan.

The NBA review follows a scandal over former NBA referee Tim Donaghy’s admitted gambling-related activities concerning games at which he officiated. (Additional details are provided in this Washington Post article.) He has pleaded guilty to two felony charges in federal court in Brooklyn, N.Y., and is scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 9.

According to the New York Post, “Pedowitz’s team already has spoken to some refs about [Donaghy’s] claims that up to 20 of them have gambled in violation of league rules that bar any betting, except at racetracks in the off-season.” There are some 60 refs in the league, according to USA Today.

Commissioner David Stern said Sunday that the NBA will “give all 60 referees a chance to give us information about their activities, while legal, that violate our rules,” reports USA Today.

(Hat tip: TrueHoop.)

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