The good news for former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson is that a court finally ruled in his favor. The bad news is that the court was in Rhode Island, not Indiana, where Tyson is appealing his conviction on charges of having raped Desiree Washington in July 1991.
On June 25, three days after Washington had filed a civil suit in Indiana against Tyson, the Rhode Island Supreme Court ruled that a contract between Washington and Providence attorney Ed Gerstein be made available to the judge who presided over Tyson's trial. Gerstein had brought the contract to the Rhode Island court's attention, and the ruling was prompted by an apparent inconsistency between Washington's trial testimony and the contract.
Gerstein says that shortly after the rape Washington hired him to represent her in the prospective civil suit. (He was discharged in mid-February.) However, in response to questions from Tyson's lawyers, who were attempting to show that she had accused Tyson of rape because she wanted to make money through a civil suit, Washington testified that Gerstein had simply said "he would help us with the media."
David Dreyer, chief counsel to the Marion (Ind.) County prosecutor's office, which must defend Tyson's conviction on appeal, dismissed the controversy as "much ado about nothing." But Alan Dershowitz, Tyson's lawyer, declared that the new information was "the smoking gun of perjury." Dershowitz shamelessly seized the moment by calling Washington "a money-grubbing gold-digger who is a liar to boot."
The Indiana courts probably won't be as troubled by the news as Dershowitz hopes, because in his opening statement to the criminal trial jury, Tyson's lawyer, Vincent Fuller, announced that Washington had hired a civil attorney. He pointed to Gerstein and told the jurors, "If Mr. Tyson is convicted, [Gerstein] could bring a lawsuit on behalf of Desiree Washington that stands to make her a very wealthy woman."
In other words, Tyson's own trial counsel loaded Dershowitz's "smoking gun" with blanks.
When it was invited to replace newly banned Yugoslavia in the European soccer championships in Sweden, Denmark figured to do no more than fill out the field for the eight-team, quadrennial event. After all, the Danes, who were informed that they had a berth on May 31, assembled their team only nine days before their opening match. And, predictably, they stood last in their division going into their final preliminary-round game. But they upset France 2-1 to reach the semifinals and then beat the defending champion Netherlands 5-4 on penalty kicks.
Awaiting the Danes in the final was reigning World Cup champion Germany. Denmark was loose. "Seventy-eight million Germans exert more pressure than five million Danes," said Danish coach Richard Moeller Nielsen. Besides, Danish fans—a lighthearted, beer-drinking group of supporters known as roligans—are a forgiving lot. "If we lose, we'll be second-best. That's great too," said one roligan before his country's first appearance in the final of a major soccer tournament.