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Indianapolis, IN (CNN)- Mike Tyson walked into the courthouse in Indianapolis, hoping he would be able to get out of the most serious legal trouble he's ever been in. He walked out of the courthouse a convicted felon. Prosecutor Greg Garrison, the man who helped convict him, said, "I'm not sorry for him, because he did what he did, and to that extent he asked for it, but I have compassion on him, and I hope there's a better day out there for him."
There figure to be a lot worse days ahead for Mike Tyson before there are any better ones. Almost emotionless as the verdict was read, Tyson was convicted of one count of rape, and two counts of deviate sexual conduct. Each of the three felony charges carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. As to what Tyson will get, "The presumptive sentence for a class B felony is 10 years, down to six for mitigating circumstances, up to 20 for aggravation," said Prosecutor Greg Garrison, "It's too soon to say."
Too soon to say also, perhaps, what effect this case will have on the crime of date rape. Coming on the heels of the William Kennedy Smith acquittal, this conviction could send a message to victims of date rape that if they come forward with credible stories, they can win. "It doesn't matter whether it's a hired gun from out of town, Washington D.C., or it's competent local counsel, we can still go forward with the evidence," said Prosecutor Barbara Trathen.
The "hired gun" Trathen refers to is Vincent Fuller. He and his team from the prominent Williams and Connelley law firm in Washington, seemed relieved that the trial was over as they left. By most accounts, they were outplayed and outmaneuvered by the homegrown Indiana team of Trathen and Garrison. Said one juror, "I think maybe it might have been the case of where some big Washington lawyers, from maybe the most important law firm, defense law firm in the country, underestimated a Hoosier hick prosecutor."
To the jurors, though, the lawyers' styles were secondary to the evidence. Cameras were allowed into the courtroom to record jurors' post verdict thoughts. It seemed to come down to the credibility of an 18-year-old Sunday school teacher and foster child big sister versus that of a man who his own defense team painted as crude, lewd, and physically threatening to women.
|"There were questions about the testimony of both the plaintiff and the defendant, but I think then again after all, it was all weighed, and believe me we weighed it very carefully, that the plaintiff's case was a much stronger case."|
|"There's no celebration here today. I mean, a woman was raped and a hero has been convicted of rape, so that's obviously something that's very sad."|
Mike Tyson is now back in the public company of Don King, his flamboyant promoter and advisor who was kept under wraps during the trial. King surrendered Tyson's passport to the court. But Tyson will remain free on $30,000 bond, even though prosecutors asked that the bond be revoked. He is due back in Indianapolis on March 6th to be sentenced.
Click here for summary of closing arguments.
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