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Don King acquitted of fraud charges

Don King
Don King  
July 9, 1998
Web posted at: 4:12 p.m. EDT (2012 GMT)

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Flamboyant boxing promoter Don King was acquitted Thursday of charges that he bilked Lloyd's of London out of $350,000 after a failed 1991 fight.

After a 10-week trial, a U.S. District Court jury in Manhattan found the promoter not guilty on all nine counts he faced, which could have brought him a 45-year prison sentence and a $2.2 million fine. The jury deadlocked on additional criminal charges brought against King's company, Don King Productions.

"Thank you all very much," King said to the jurors after the verdict was announced. He shook hands with each juror.

An earlier trial on the same charges ended with a deadlocked jury in November 1995.

The allegations centered on a 1991 fight featuring a boxer King represented, Cesar Chavez. The fight had to be canceled when Chavez cut his nose.

Prosecutors said King's company submitted a fraudulent contract to Lloyd's of London, seeking reimbursement in the amount of $350,000 for money given to Chavez for training expenses. But Chavez, the prosecution's star witness, testified that King paid him only $80,000.

King has promoted some of the greatest fighters in modern boxing history, including Muhammad Ali, George Foreman, Joe Frazier and Mike Tyson.

King has had previous encounters with the law. He served a four-year prison sentence for beating a man to death and survived three grand jury probes and an FBI sting operation. In 1985, he was acquitted of federal tax evasion charges.

Notably absent from court this time around was Tyson, once one of King's strongest supporters. Tyson has filed his own lawsuit against King, alleging that his former promoter and long-time mentor cheated him out of millions.

Correspondent Peg Tyre contributed to this report.

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