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Larry Spriggs denies that charges were filed against him

January 29, 1997

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Former NBA player Larry Spriggs on Tuesday said a story saying he had been charged with taking part in a nightclub brawl in Turkey that left one person dead was not true.

The Anatolia news agency reported last week that a prosecutor had charged Spriggs and Dallas Comegys in the matter, and that the pair could face up to five years in prison if found guilty.

``I have not been charged with anything,″ Spriggs said. ``I have no intention of going back there, but not because of any legal trouble.

``There are absolutely no charges pending against myself or Dallas. I have no idea where this story came from. I’m sure I would have heard if I had been charged with anything.″

Comegys, 32, and Spriggs, 37, were shot last April during an altercation in Bursa, which is 150 miles southwest of Istanbul.

Spriggs, a member of the 1984-85 NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers who lives in the Los Angeles area, said he was shot three times _ once in the rib area and twice in the side _ and hospitalized for a week. ``But now I’m fine.

``We were in the wrong place at the wrong time,″ Spriggs said.

Spriggs was playing for Bursa’s Oyak Renault team at the time, and said the team still owes him money. He also said he cooperated with police, and when he left the country, it was with their blessing.

According to the Anatolia news agency, police said Spriggs and Comegys, who was playing for the Istanbul club Fenerbahce, verbally abused two Turkish women, touching off a fight with men accompanying the women.

A club bouncer fired his gun, hitting Comegys, Spriggs and a Turkish businessman, who died on the spot, the news agency said, adding that the bouncer is being prosecuted for murder and wounding with a firearm.

The Fenerbahce club released a statement at the time giving a different version of events. It said the players were caught in the middle of the quarrel as they tried to split up others who were fighting.

``We were involved in an altercation, but it had nothing to do with abusing women,″ Spriggs said. ``We were just standing out there.″

Comegys, who played for the New Jersey Nets and San Antonio Spurs in 1987-1989, had surgery to remove a bullet from his right lung. He returned to Fenerbahce after his recovery.

Spriggs said he played for the Turkish team for four-to-five months, and has played on-and-off for Magic Johnson’s touring team for about two years.

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