Spira Gets 2 1/2 Years for Extortion

From Staff and Wire Reports

Howard Spira, the admitted gambler convicted of trying to extort $110,000 from New York Yankee owner George Steinbrenner, was sentenced Tuesday to 2 1/2 years in prison.

A New York jury convicted Spira in May of attempting to extort the money from Steinbrenner with threats to ruin Steinbrenner's reputation.

Steinbrenner acknowledged that he paid Spira $40,000 in January, 1990, giving several explanations ranging from fear to charity.

Spira said he viewed the sentencing as a new beginning for him, saying he wanted to get counseling and a real job when he got out of prison.

In addition to prison, Spira was sentenced to three years' probation.

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