Ex-NBA All-Star Kermit Washington Asks for Release from Prison Amid COVID-19

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistApril 25, 2020

FILE - In this Dec. 25, 1979, file photo, Portland Trail Blazers'  Kermit Washington gains control of a loose ball during an NBA basketball game against the Golden State Warriors in Portland, Ore. Washington, who notoriously gave a bone-breaking face punch to the Houston Rockets' Rudy Tomjanovich during a 1977 Lakers game, has been arrested by federal agents. Washington was arrested on a warrant Tuesday, May 24, 2016, in Los Angeles. Officials won't discuss the arrest, but they have set a news conference for Wednesday in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Jack Smith, File)
Jack Smith/Associated Press

Former NBA forward Kermit Washington has requested his release from prison, stating he's at a "high risk of death or serious illness" because of the coronavirus pandemic.

TMZ Sports reported Saturday that Washington, 68, filed court documents arguing the "extreme rate of infection" from COVID-19 puts him in danger.

"Only the court can correct this injustice and protect me and my life," he wrote.

In July 2018, Washington was sentenced to six years in prison and ordered to pay almost $970,000 in restitution after pleading guilty to making a false statement on his tax return and aggravated identity theft in a charity fraud case.

U.S. attorney Timothy Garrison released a statement about the sentence:

"This former NBA player abused his fame and status to promote a charity scam by which he raised hundreds of thousands of dollars that he diverted to personal spending on lavish vacations, shopping sprees, and even plastic surgery for his girlfriend. Although he told his donors that 100 percent of all donations would go to support charitable work in Africa, including a medical clinic for needy families and HIV-positive children, in fact he spent most of the donated funds on himself. His fraud scheme also victimized law-abiding taxpayers by stealing from the public treasury rather than paying taxes owed."

Washington was selected by the Los Angeles Lakers with the fifth overall pick in the 1973 NBA draft. He also played for the Boston Celtics, San Diego Clippers, Portland Trail Blazers and Golden State Warriors during a 10-season playing career. He made an All-Star Game appearance for the Blazers in 1980.

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The Washington, D.C. native retired from the NBA after a brief stint with the Warriors in 1987.

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