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NBA Court to rule shortly on tape's release in Williams murder trial



Published: Mon, March 17, 2003 @ 12:00 a.m.



The prosecution has asked that the release be blocked.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

FLEMINGTON, N.J. -- A state appellate court panel agreed to decide whether a 911 tape made after a fatal shooting at former basketball star Jayson Williams' estate should be made public.

The court announced its decision Thursday and said a ruling would be issued shortly, but did not provide further details.

The announcement came one day after Hunterdon County prosecutors asked the court to block the tape's release, claiming it was evidence that should not yet be made public.

Steven Lember, the county's first assistant prosecutor, also said that releasing the tape could make it difficult to pick a jury and would go against the wishes of the victim's family. He's challenging a request made by the Courier News of Bridgewater to hear the tape, which argues that it should be made public under New Jersey's open public records law.

Williams is charged with first-degree manslaughter and other offenses in the Feb. 14, 2002, shooting death of limousine driver Costas Christofi. The 35-year-old former player could face nearly 55 years in prison if convicted on all counts.

Kings out

PHOENIX -- Sacramento's Vlade Divac and Lawrence Funderburke were not with the team Thursday night, leaving the Kings with 10 players for their game against the Phoenix Suns.

Divac, who's averaging 10.5 points and 7.3 rebounds, did not make the trip because of bronchitis. He was replaced in the starting lineup by Keon Clark.

Funderburke, a reserve forward who's averaging 3.1 points, stayed home because of personal reasons, the King said.




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