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King Caught Up in Corruption Trial

March 28, 2000

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) _ Prosecutors preparing to try International Boxing Federation founder Robert Lee Sr. have finally spoken the name of Don King.

The flamboyant promoter is among the case’s 14 unindicted co-conspirators, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jose P. Sierra said Monday during a pretrial conference on questions for 135 potential jurors.

Lawyers were scheduled to begin picking a jury on Thursday. Opening arguments are expected next week.

Lee and three other IBF officials were indicted in November, accused of taking $338,000 in bribes to rig the IBF’s boxer rankings.

The indictment referred to seven promoters, seven managers and 23 boxers _ all unnamed _ who either participated in or were affected by the schemes, which prosecutors claim began soon after Lee founded the IBF in 1983. Sierra declined to say why the promoters and managers were not charged.

King’s offices in Deerfield Beach, Fla., were raided in June, and evidence in the case released this year named King, as well as other big promoters.

Lee, 65, and his son, Robert Jr., 38, will be the only defendants on trial.

During Monday’s hearing, lawyers for the Lees urged the judge to add questions to potential jurors regarding their attitudes toward King, as well as race and the justice system.

The Lees and King are black.

``The thrust of this case is Don King,″ Lee Jr.’s lawyer, John J. DeMassi, said. ``Jurors may not have too many opinions about boxers, they may not know too many boxers, but I dare say they know Don King.″

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