Attorneys Can't Help Mike Now

Mike Tyson won't have any handlers or lawyers to help him in his latest bout, a disciplinary hearing Wednesday at the Montgomery County jail.

The former heavyweight champion will have to defend himself against allegations he threw a television set last Friday, after he became angry that a guard hung up a telephone he was using.

Tyson lawyer Paul Kemp said the boxer had become depressed, in part because a psychiatrist hired by the jail had taken him off an antidepressant drug he had been taking for four months. Corrections officials have since allowed him to resume taking the medication, Kemp said Tuesday.

Tyson doesn't have the right to a lawyer during the closed-door administrative hearing before a member of the jail's treatment staff and a guard supervisor, said Eric Seleznow, a spokesman for the Montgomery County Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

His only recourse would be to ask another inmate or member of the jail's staff to represent him and "most people don't do that," Seleznow said.

"It doesn't look good for Mike," said a Tyson adviser who spoke on the condition of anonymity. "Mike's never good in these situations. He can't defend himself well."

Kemp said he counseled Tyson on Tuesday about how to respond to the accusations. He described the boxer as "bewildered by his medication being taken away."

Tyson faces accusations of disorderly conduct, destroying property and assaulting a correctional officer who was allegedly struck with shards of plastic from the television. He could lose some privileges, such as visitation rights and telephone calls, and any good time served could be discounted.

"It's a routine hearing. We have 15 to 20 of them a week," Seleznow said. He admitted, however, that Tyson is anything but a typical inmate and that routines at the jail have been disrupted by his presence among the 645 inmates.

"It's an unusual situation. It's a challenge," said Seleznow, who has received up to 200 calls a day from news organizations around the world about Tyson.

Tyson had not had contact with the other inmates since Friday, when he was placed in solitary confinement after his alleged outburst. Before then, he had begun a one-year sentence in a cell among the jail's regular population of inmates who are awaiting trial or serving sentences of 18 months or less.

Tyson was sentenced Feb. 5 after pleading no contest to charges he assaulted two men following a minor traffic accident last August but has until March 7 to appeal the sentence. Kemp said he would decide on the appeal by the end of the week.

Mike Tyson probably won't have any help in his disciplinary hearing.>
Mike Tyson probaly won't have any help in his disciplinary hearing. (AP)

Kemp said Tyson's alleged outburst occurred after jail officials began withholding his daily dose of Zoloft. Tyson received no medication Thursday or Friday, Kemp said.

The jail psychiatrist won't give medication to inmates unless they consult with him, said Kemp, who added that Tyson doesn't want to see the doctor because he has been under the care of a private psychiatrist. The judge recommended Tyson remain on the medication when he sentenced Tyson, Kemp said.

Tyson is a patient of Dr. Richard Goldberg, chairman of the psychiatry department at Georgetown University Medical Center, who saw him on Saturday.

Tyson also is on probation in Indiana for raping a beauty pageant contestant in an Indianapolis hotel room in 1991. He was released from prison in March 1995 after serving three years. Indiana officials are considering whether to revoke his probation based on his legal problems in Maryland.

Tyson's advisers hoped he would be assigned to a prerelease program within 60 days. His assignment to a halfway house would enable him to resume training, but this latest episode could affect his eligibility for that program.

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