Sat, Feb 28, 2004 - Page 20 News List

Tyson dodges jail by pleading guilty

AP , NEW YORK

Mike Tyson avoided a return to jail on Thursday by agreeing to plead guilty to disorderly conduct in a brawl with two men outside a Brooklyn hotel last year.

The former heavyweight champion's lawyer, Mel Sachs, called the agreement a "fair and equitable resolution of this matter."

Tyson was at the Brooklyn courthouse during the negotiations, appearing relaxed as he flipped through a catalogue of boxing memorabilia or read the newspaper.

Under the agreement, he will perform 100 hours of community service, teaching and instructing children in boxing, Sachs said.

Once that is completed, other charges against Tyson will be dropped and he will plead guilty to disorderly conduct. No court date was immediately set.

Tyson's lawyers described the violation as equivalent to a traffic ticket, although prosecutors pointed out that in some cases it can carry a 15-day jail sentence.

Tyson initially was charged with assault, harassment and disorderly conduct. He had faced up to a year in jail if convicted.

The 37-year-old Tyson was arrested after an early morning brawl with Samuel Velez and Nestor Alvarez-Ramos, who allegedly threatened him last June while the boxer waited for a ride to the airport.

Velez and Alvarez-Ramos are awaiting trial on charges of menacing Tyson before the fight began.

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