Friday, May 19, 2000 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Tonya Harding sentenced for attack on boyfriend

Associated Press

CAMAS, Clark County - Former figure-skating champion Tonya Harding was sent to jail for three days yesterday after she pleaded guilty to attacking her boyfriend, who said he "has forgiven her in my heart."

Harding was accused of punching Darren Silver and throwing a hubcap at his head during an argument at her house in Camas, bloodying his face and resulting in a 911 call to police.

But Silver said in a written statement read at her sentencing that the argument was unusual in their three-year relationship, and he pleaded for leniency: "If I can forgive her, so should the state."

Harding's lawyer, Steve Thayer, blamed the Feb. 22 attack on a mix of alcohol, prescription painkillers and the anti-depressant Zoloft, but he said Harding did not have a drinking problem.

Judge Darvin Zimmerman, however, was skeptical and ordered Harding to avoid alcohol completely for two years, putting her on "bench probation" - or probation supervised by a judge.

Harding, 29, pleaded guilty during a brief appearance in Camas-Wash ougal Municipal Court to disorderly conduct and malicious mischief.

Zimmerman sentenced her to three days in jail for disorderly conduct and 10 days of community service for malicious mischief. He also suspended 167 days of jail time, fined her $300 on each charge and ordered her to pay $111 per conviction in court costs.

At Silver's request, he lifted a "no-contact" order preventing her from seeing Silver.

Zimmerman also ordered Harding to attend anger-management classes and warned her that she would land back in jail if she violated any part of her sentence.

When Zimmerman asked her in court whether she had anything to say, she told him she was sorry and that "we all wish this had never happened."

"I'm here to accept my responsibility for my actions," Harding said in a soft voice. "I'd like to apologize."

Harding was immediately taken to jail after sentencing.

Harding was banned for life from figure skating for her role in a January 1994 knee-clubbing attack on Nancy Kerrigan at the national figure-skating championship in Detroit. Harding was later stripped of her title and pleaded guilty to hindering prosecution in Oregon for helping cover up a plot against Kerrigan hatched by Harding's former husband and his friends.

Copyright (c) 2000 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.


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