Donald Trump's rivals Ted Cruz and Carly Fiorina have hammered the frontrunner this week for touting the endorsement of former heavyweight-boxing champion Mike Tyson in Indiana — a state where Tyson was convicted in 1992 of raping a beauty pageant contestant Desiree Washington.
Trump controversially suggested in 1992 Tyson could pay the victim with money from a fight to avoid serving a jail sentence and as reported earlier this week by BuzzFeed News said in the early '90s that Tyson was "railroaded" in his case, and that the victim had willingly entered Tyson's room.
In another instance in late 1992, Trump discussed the case at length in an interview with Charlie Rose. The topic centered around a New York magazine profile in which Trump said his mother was angry at him for defending Tyson. In the piece, Trump said Tyson told him the victim "wanted it real bad."
Wrote New York magazine in their cover profile of Trump:
Donald is discussing his buddy Mike Tyson. Tyson told Trump the woman who put him in jail "wanted it real bad." Trump feels Tyson is doing time on a bad rap: "She knocked on his door at 1 a.m. and was up and dancing at eight the next morning." This speech is another of the set pieces he is so fond of delivering. When he defended Tyson and suggested a payoff and community service for the champ, his mother got so angry she raised her voice to him for the first time in his 46 years.
Trump said his mother was not amused with his defense of Tyson.
"I think that's probably the first time that my mother absolutely got angry at me," Trump told Rose. "I really mean that. My mother was so crazy when I came out in defense of Mike Tyson."
Again remarking that his mother was livid at him, Trump added that he had problems with how Tyson's defense was handled.
"She didn't exactly like the fact that I was defending Iron Mike, but I watched what happened to Mike Tyson," said Trump. "I watched how badly he was represented by an attorney in Washington that was charging him $3, $4, or $5 million against a local attorney, the best within 100 miles, that the state hired who just ate the other man's lunch. I watched the way he did it."
Trump then questioned if the rape even had occurred, suggesting the victim made it up.
"I heard about a girl that late in the evening knocked on his door, was taken in, was raped perhaps, perhaps not," said Trump. "I don't know. Again, I think he was badly represented, but I did see that number one, she knocks late in the night. Number two, she's dancing in a beauty contest at 8 a.m. I saw the tapes. I see the big smile on her face. She's dancing happily at 8 a.m. Then Mike Tyson's in jail for four, five, or six years. I had a real problem with that case. I had a real problem with Mike Tyson's lawyers. I had a real problem with Don King. I just think that he was really fed out to the wolves."
Trump noted Tyson still denied the charges and said he believed if Tyson hadn't testified would have been found not guilty.
"He to this day denies it," said Trump, when asked by Rose if Tyson should have gone to jail if found guilty. "I don't know that it happened. I think that as they said if he didn't testify, he would have been exonerated totally. The jury said that. Mike was arrogant. He was a horrible witness from what I understand. I'm not surprised. I would say that generally speaking, you don't put Mike on as a witness but he was a horrible witness. To get four, five, or six years, I think that there was just too many circumstances. Again, she was in a beauty contest. She was dancing with a big smile on her face at 8:00 a.m."
Trump said Tyson was thrown in jail before being found guilty and deserved another chance.
"I watched Mike," he staid. "I've been with Mike. I've seen him. People really take advantage of this man. I want to tell you something. I think this is one of those examples. Now, I know we have a system of juries. We have a system where if you're found guilty, you're guilty, but somebody like me and maybe who has a little bit more independent streak can say, 'Hey, Mike Tyson in my opinion should really be given another break.' They put him in jail before he was even guilty as far as I was concerned."
Andrew Kaczynski is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Andrew Kaczynski at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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