Most paperwork in a presentence investigation in federal court is impounded. It is filed in secret and available only to the judge, the lawyers and the probation department. The NBA's letter demanding restitution, for example, was filed in secret. But in a clever use of federal rules and procedures, Lauro filed Donaghy's explosive assertions in a public letter. The purpose of the letter, Lauro said, was to provide "a summary of Tim's cooperation" with the FBI. But its real purpose was to fire back at the NBA after its demand for $1 million in restitution. As a cooperating witness admitting guilt and showing contrition, Donaghy was well on his way to a reduced sentence. Then the NBA makes its demand for $1 million. If Donaghy cannot make restitution, his jail sentence could be extended. Donaghy's plans for a reduced sentence were suddenly in jeopardy as the result of the NBA's demand. If Donaghy was to do additional time in prison, then he could get even by pulling the curtain back on multiple episodes of alleged misconduct by NBA executives, owners and referees.
Will Donaghy's charges result in other investigations and other charges against other referees or anyone else?
The charges against Donaghy were the result of his gambling and his use of his position to manipulate games for gamblers. There is no claim of any gambling by anyone in the charges Donaghy made Tuesday. If his claims are true, they clearly show misconduct that could result in NBA discipline, but they might not be federal crimes. Because the games Donaghy describes occurred in various cities around the U.S., there might be more than one set of prosecutors looking into his accusations. The first sign that any of these potential investigations is under way will come July 14. If Donaghy's sentencing is postponed, it will be a clear sign that other investigations are under way on his claims.
What is the next step in the case against Donaghy?
Donaghy's attorneys want to see all of the NBA's records of its investigation into Donaghy. The NBA investigation, according to Donaghy's court papers, included interviews of 57 NBA referees. Donaghy and his attorneys have asked a federal judge in Brooklyn to give them a subpoena for all NBA records resulting from the investigative efforts. The NBA claims the investigation cost $1 million, but Donaghy wants proof. Lauro argues that the investigation was directed at other referees and other situations that did not involve Donaghy, and Donaghy should not be required to make restitution for that portion of the investigation. U.S. District Court Judge Carol Amon will decide whether Donaghy can go through the NBA's records.
Lester Munson, a Chicago lawyer and journalist who reports on investigative and legal issues in the sports industry, is a senior writer for ESPN.com.