What a hoot!
If you were Mike Tyson, what city would generate the most controversy for a 23-city run of his new show, “Mike Tyson: The Undisputed Truth?”
None other than Indianapolis where the former heavyweight boxing champion fell from grace after his conviction for rape 21 years ago.
Think about it. It smacks of pure hokum to hype the tour.
Bet the farm there will be protests from women’s rights groups and support from Tyson fans, which will draw the media flies, creating more free buzz, as evidenced by the space he received November 29 on the front page of The Indianapolis Star.
It’s a natural for the media masters that would draw kudos from P.T. Barnum, despite the smoke from a representative of the company managing the tour, who termed it “a coincidence” that Iron Mike’s 10-week road show will open here, Feb. 12 and 13 at the Murat Theatre.
Tyson was found guilty by a Marion County Superior Court jury on one count of rape and two counts of criminal deviate conduct on Feb. 10, 1992 and spent three years in the Indiana Youth Center in Plainfield.
Get the timing – conviction Feb. 10, show opens here Feb. 12.
Writing about the New York City opening in August, Emma Brockes, a correspondent for London’s newspaper, The Guardian, was quoted in The Indianapolis Star story Nov. 29 that the Brooklyn native wants ”to rehash his defense and question her credibility,” referring to Desiree Washington, the victim. Tyson has always proclaimed his innocence.
As a reporter for the former Indianapolis News, I was in a front row seat during the trial, which had all the media trappings. International and national reporters descended on Indianapolis, many of whom were fresh from the Florida rape trial of a young Kennedy relative, and they smelled blood.
After jury was selected Feb. 5, the members were sequestered at the former Indianapolis Athletic Club, at Meridian and Vermont streets. That night a fire broke out in the club, and two firefighters and a club guest died.
The next morning as Tyson’s entourage entered the City-County Building to a media scrum, Wally Matthews, a reporter for The New York Post, yelled at Tyson, “Shouldn’t play with matches Mikey.” Tyson never blinked.
Welcome to the bigtime Indianapolis.
Ms. Washington was a contestant in the Indiana Black Expo beauty pageant, and Tyson was a guest when he met the 21-year old entrant, later asking her out. But, the evening out-on-the town was delayed when Tyson stopped by his Canterbury Hotel room where he said he had to check phone messages. (You won’t find Tyson’s room number 606 anywhere in the hotel. It was removed years ago.)
Ms. Washington accompanied Tyson to his room, and, that was where prosecutors and Ms. Washington said the crimes occurred.
What always puzzled me about her story was the time she spent in the bathroom of Tyson’s room.
Alone in the boxer’s room late at night before any incident, she excused herself and went into the bathroom, where if she had any concerns for her welfare there was a lock on the bathroom door and a telephone in the bathroom, but neither was used.
If there was any good to come from evil, it was the change in how grand jury cases were allocated to Marion County courts.
On Tyson’s appeal, his trial defense team, headed by Vincent Fuller, of the high-powered Washington law firm of Williams & Connolly, was replaced by Alan M. Dershowitz and Lee McTurnan, a former Zionsville resident. They had been law clerks for Supreme Court Justice Arthur Goldberg. The third member of the appellate team was Jim Voyles, of Zionsville, who had assisted Fuller during the trial phase.
Voyles explained this week their appeal focused on the grand jury process. Marion County Superior Courts were assigned grand juries every three months. When a grand jury returned indictments, the court which had jurisdiction of the grand jury subsequently heard those cases.
Voyles said subsequent changes in the law changed that, and cases resulting from grand jury indictments are now rotated among the superior courts.
That was Mike Tyson’s legacy to Indianapolis – until next February.