In Donaghy Scandal, NBA a ‘Victim’

by Marcel Mutoni

That’s according to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled in favor of the Association in their case versus James Battista, one of Tim Donaghy’s partners in crime (along with co-conspirator Thomas Martino.)

New York Law Journal explains the ruling:

James Battista, who conspired with referee Timothy Donaghy to get information on games for betting purposes, claimed he should not be liable for restitution because the league could not be considered a victim under the Victim and Witness Protection Act of 1982. But the 2nd Circuit said the NBA was “‘directly and proximately harmed’ by Battista committing the crime of conspiracy to transmit wagering information” and that restitution was properly imposed under the act in United States v. Battista, 08-3750-cr.

“Although Battista did not defraud the NBA directly, we conclude that the district court properly characterized the NBA as a ‘victim’ under the [Victim and Witness Protection Act] because the NBA was harmed by the conduct committed during the course of the conspiracy to transmit wagering information, e.g., Battista’s use of nonpublic information solely belonging to the NBA (conveyed to him by the co-conspirators) to place illegal wagers on its games,” Judge Richard C. Wesley said.

Basically, the original ruling that Battista and company pay more than $200K in damages to the NBA stands, regardless of the criminals’ financial situation. Though still hurting from the scandal, from a legal standpoint, the League now appears to be in the clear.

In the court of public opinion, however, NBA refs still have a very long way to go.