Don King Found Not Guilty of Tax Evasion

Boxing promoter Don King was acquitted of charges that he evaded income taxes on hundreds of thousands of dollars that he allegedly skimmed from his company, Don King Productions.

Constance Harper, King's long-time associate, was convicted on three counts of attempted tax evasion by the jury of nine women and three men that heard the seven-week trial.

Each count against Harper carries a maximum five-year prison sentence. U.S. District Judge Thomas P. Griesa said he will sentence her Jan. 8. He allowed her to remain free on bail.

"Only in America," a visibly relieved but unusually subdued King said as he left the courtroom. He paused to thank each juror personally, signed autographs for five jurors, then gave one of them the pen he had used.

U.S. Attorney Rudolph W. Giuliani, who had announced King's indictment at a news conference 11 months ago, called the result "part of the jury system."

"You can't quarrel with it," he said. "The case was tried fairly. That's the end of this investigation and this case."

Assistant U.S. Attorney Roanne L. Mann, who headed the prosecution, contended during the trial that King failed to report $446,200 of income he received from 1978 to 1980, and that Harper evaded taxes on another $160,000.

King's attorney, Vincent Fuller, admitted that some of his client's income went unreported but blamed it on accounting errors. Despite King's success in a series of multimillion-dollar boxing deals, the defense argued, King was financially unsophisticated and did not realize that he was not paying the taxes that were due.

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