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COURT IS ASKED TO FREE BOXER PENDING APPEAL

Mike Tyson's lawyer asked an appeals court Friday to free the former heavyweight champion pending appeal.

"Every moment Mr. Tyson spends in confinement is a moment of injustice," said Alan Dershowitz, a Harvard law professor and Tyson's defense attroeny, whose celebrity clients include Michael and Leona Helmsley.The 25-year-old boxer was sentenced to 10 years each for one count of rape and two counts of criminal deviate conduct. The judge suspended four years from each count and ordered the terms served concurrently. Tyson was fined $10,000 on each count.

Tyson was taken a prison intake center, where he was expected to remain for several weeks while officials decide where he should be imprisoned.

He could be released in three years with time off for good behavior. But special prosecutor Greg Garrison warned that Tyson must obey the terms of his four-year post-prison probation, which include psychotherapy.

"He may do the whole 10 years if he can't behave himself, and he gets out and gets himself jammed up again," Garrison said. "She (Superior Court Judge Patricia Gifford) didn't throw the keys at him and say, `Have a nice day.'"

In Panama, World Boxing Association president Elias M. Cordova said Tyson's career is over unless he prevails on appeal. The association prohibits felons from boxing professionally.

"It isn't the first time this has happened to a professional boxer," he said. "But it is important for boxers to look at themselves in this mirror. In this case, it is the end of a career."