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A Done Deal
Sonja Steptoe
March 28, 1994
Tonya Harding confessed to a crime but avoided jail
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March 28, 1994

A Done Deal

Tonya Harding confessed to a crime but avoided jail

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As for Harding, thanks to her new notoriety, she now finds herself with considerably more resources than she has ever had before. Her legal fees and fines will be nicely covered by the estimated $400,000 she received from the tabloid TV show Inside Edition for a series of interviews. Plus she has already signed a movie deal: She'll receive an undisclosed fee for the "authorized" movie of her life from Zev Braun Pictures, Inc., a Hollywood production company that just finished a four-hour miniseries on the Menendez-family murders. A book deal is also being negotiated. Endorsement opportunities for certain products—ranging from asthma inhalers to security devices—are beginning to come her way. And sources close to Harding say that Donald Trump is interested in "doing something with Tonya."

On top of all that, a promoter from the All Japan Women's Professional Wrestling Association has put a $2 million offer on the table for Harding, with the stipulation that she be willing to wrestle as a "baddie." Says Aja Kong, the undisputed queen of the Japanese baddies, "If I am to fight her, I'd better be careful that I don't get attacked before the bout."

Harding, though, says she has no interest in wrestling in Japan, as a goodie or a baddie. Nor does she have any interest in posing for the Japanese girlie magazines that have been sending offers to her lawyers. Besides, according to the terms of her probation, Harding needs written permission to venture outside Oregon, Washington and California. So it is also unlikely that she'll appear in any ice shows in the near future, although at least one has approached her.

Clearly, Harding's options are more varied and lucrative than those of any other eighth-place finisher in Olympic history. "The message the public picks up from this is that crime does pay," says Mark McKnight, the lawyer representing Eckardt.

Ignoring the fact that Harding now has a felony conviction besmirching her name, McKnight adds, "She's laughing all the way to the bank. It's not a pretty picture of the criminal justice system."

It's not a pretty picture of much of anything.

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