The Tim Donaghy saga may soon be coming to a close, as the ex-NBA ref accused of gambling will learn his fate next week. If he receives the same sentence his gambling pals got, Tim will be trading zebra stripes for prison stripes.
John Marzulli of the NEW YORK DAILY NEWS reports that the two men implicated in the Donaghy scandal were both sentenced to jail on Thursday. James Battista was given a 15 month term, while Thomas Martino will be behind bars for one year & one day.
Battista’s & Martino’s lawyers tried to get their clients probation or at least house arrest, but Federal Judge Carol Amon decided that prison would be appropriate, since the gambling accusations were “very significant and serious.”
Of course, the two couldn’t be carted off to the pokey without getting a stern talking-to from the judge, who lambasted the duo for damaging the integrity of professional basketball:
“The wagering scheme here was particularly significant … because it was in a real sense, corruption of the one person in professional sports who is supposed to be above reproach, in this case the referee.”
“Obviously the NBA, the fans, depend on the integrity of the game and no single person is more important to the integrity of the game than the referee. If his interest is compromised in any way, the entire sport is compromised.”
As for their stay in Sing Sing or wherever they end up, prison authorities may want to keep Battista & Martino in separate cells. The duo’s life-long friendship may be over, if it’s any indication from a scuffle outside the courthouse:
Martino lost his job in tech support at J.P. Morgan, and is attending cosmetology school. Outside court, his brother and father nearly came to blows with Battista’s lawyer, James McMahon.
The father accused Battista of corrupting his son and McMahon called the brother a “punk.”
We’re confident that Thomas’ cosmetology training could come in handy to cover up any brawl-induced bruises.