Boxing promoter sentenced

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By BILL DWYER

Oak Park resident Robert Mittleman is quite used to watching his boxers dodge punches in the ring. On Monday, Mittleman, 61, dodged a real haymaker himself. The former boxing manager, who pleaded guilty in April to two counts of sports bribery and one count of bribery of a public official, was sentenced to five years probation by a judge in Federal court in Las Vegas.

Already in hot water for helping fix two fights in 2000, Mittleman offered a police officer $15,000 on Oct. 30, 2003, in an attempt to get an assistant U.S. attorney and a U.S. district judge to drop the charges against his fighter. He then paid the officer, who was in fact an undercover investigator, $3,000 on Dec. 12, 2003.

According to media reports, Mittleman, 61, threw himself on the court's mercy, pleading in a "quivering voice" for leniency and asking the judge to consider his wife and son in deciding his sentence. Reading from a prepared statement, Mittleman expressed remorse and called his actions "dishonorable and despicable."

His case was helped by assistant U.S. Attorney Kathleen Bliss, who told the judge that Mittleman provided "substantial assistance to the government" in its prosecution of boxer Thomas Williams and matchmaker Robert Mitchell, who were each convicted of single counts of conspiracy to commit sports bribery, sports bribery and attempted sports bribery on Nov. 8 of this year.

Mittleman's attorney, Alvin Entin, put the best face he could on Mittleman's cooperation in that trial, calling it voluntary, and noting that Mittleman had borne the costs of providing recording equipment and travel. Mittleman, Entin said to the judge, "placed his life and health at a tremendous amount of risk" by cooperating with the government.

U.S. District Judge Robert C. Jones noted Mittleman's cooperation in handing down a sentence that included six months house arrest, five years probation, a $2,000 fine and 250 hours of community service.

He faced up to five years in prison on each bribery count and 15 years for the bribery of a public official, as well as fines of up to $250,000 on each of the three counts.

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