Tyson Accuser Claims Bribe Was Offered

From Staff and Wire Reports

Desiree Washington, the woman whom Mike Tyson was convicted of raping, says she was offered $1 million to recant, according to a partial transcript of her first television interview. In an interview with Barbara Walters on ABC News' "20/20," Washington said that the money was offered to her before the trial started Jan. 27.

The interview will be aired tonight.

"I said, 'No way.' I reported it to my lawyer, who took it to a higher authority, and it's being taken care of," she said. Marion County Prosecutor Jeffrey Modisett confirmed that an East Coast FBI office had investigated Washington's allegations.

The television interview was the first Washington had granted since Tyson's conviction Feb. 10 on charges of rape and criminal deviate conduct.

Washington said she was not at liberty to say who offered her the money but said they told her what she should say when she retracted the accusation.

"They told me to say that I was afraid because of what happened to Patricia Bowman, that I was afraid because of how Anita Hill was exploited. They gave me a million excuses," she said.

Bowman accused William Kennedy Smith, the nephew of Sen. Edward Kennedy, of raping her last spring at the Kennedy family compound at West Palm Beach, Fla. Smith was acquitted last December. Hill, a University of Oklahoma law professor, testified during Senate confirmation hearings last fall that she had been sexually harassed by U.S. Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas, who went on to be confirmed as an associate justice.

"I pity him," Washington said of Tyson. "I came forward and I said from the very beginning, from the day that I pressed charges, 'This man needs help, you know.' "

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