Tyson was arrested in July 1991 for the rape of 18-year-old Desiree Washington, Miss Black Rhode Island, in an Indianapolis hotel room. Tyson’s rape trial took place in the Marion County superior court from January 26 to February 10, 1992.

Partial corroboration of Washington’s story came via testimony from Tyson’s chauffeur who confirmed Desiree Washington’s state of shock after the incident. Further testimony came from the emergency room physician who examined Washington more than 24 hours after the incident and confirmed that Washington’s physical condition was consistent with rape.

Under lead defense lawyer Vincent J. Fuller’s direct examination, Tyson claimed that everything had taken place with Washington’s full consent and he claimed not to have forced himself upon her. When he was cross-examined by lead prosecutor Gregory Garrison, Tyson denied claims that he had misled Washington and insisted that she wanted to have sex with him.[73] Tyson was convicted on the rape charge on February 10, 1992 after the jury deliberated for nearly 10 hours.

Alan Dershowitz, acting as Tyson’s counsel, filed an appeal urging error of law in the Court’s exclusion of evidence of the victim’s past sexual conduct (known as the Rape Shield Law), the exclusion of three potential defense witnesses, and the lack of a jury instruction on honest and reasonable mistake of fact. The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled against Tyson in a 2–1 vote. The Indiana Supreme Court let the lower court opinion stand due to a 2–2 split in its review. The tie vote was due to the fact that the then-Chief Justice of the Indiana Supreme Court recused himself from the case.

The Chief Justice later revealed he did so because of a heated argument between his wife and Dershowitz at a Yale Law School reunion concerning the case. On March 26, 1992, Tyson was sentenced to six years in prison along with four years of probation. Despite being 25 years old at the time of the crime, he was assigned to the Indiana Youth Center (now the Plainfield Correctional Facility) in April 1992, and he was released in March 1995 after serving less than three years of the sentence.

It has been widely reported that while in prison, he converted to Islam and adopted the Muslim name Malik Abdulaziz (though some sources report the adoption of a different Islamic name, Malik Shabazz). However, Tyson has stated that he converted to Islam before entering prison, but made no efforts to correct the misinformation in the media. Due to his conviction, Tyson is required to register as a Tier II sex offender under federal law.

Zab Judah:

“Prison?”

Mike Tyson:

“Yeah, prison was pretty interesting for me.”

Zab Judah:

“What was it like your first night when you got to your cell and you locked in?”

Mike Tyson:

“I don’t know. I went there, I got a super put in and got some hot water in my soup and I went in the room, and I ate my soup. It’s, um, I’ve been in institutions most of my, um, juvenile life. I just, I used to know that I know, um, there’s no poverty crime. I know prison. I know that life. That’s just, I don’t have much money. I’ve had trillions of dollars. I used to know that life. That life is just, it’s just a part of my barometer, you know. It’s just who you are. It’s part of what makes me; it’s my makeup. So, it’s just like me being in that juvenile home, again. Same thing. Respect to it, because respect yourself is the same, the same rules, same rules.”

Zab Judah:

“What was one of the worst experiences you had in jail?”

Mike Tyson:

“No, no bad experiences.”

Zab Judah:

“No bad experience?”

Mike Tyson:

“Beautiful experiences. I felt very safe there. Very safe. You know, at one time, you know, being a brat and I got put in the whole fight with the guards and stuff, being ridiculous. But they became my best friend, eventually.”

Zab Judah:

“So regardless was cool with your, about…?”

Mike Tyson:

“Yeah, I was just mad for being in there. I didn’t do that and this and that. I could have been imprisoned for some worse stuff longer time and I get in trouble for this stuff and I wouldn’t, I never wasn’t taking it well. So, I got in trouble like the first six months and stuff, cursing, getting written up and then by that time I got the hang of the place. Hey, I know how to do this. Oh, wait. Next thing you know, I’m dating one of the, um, the council workers. Now she’s letting me have sex with her now. So, I’m going good but for the first six months, I was getting right up, I have to pay that year back. Now, my, I’m gonna make a star pupil prisoner, trusty, everything. Then, hey, Mike, remember the first six months you hit prick? Boom. They gave me another year. They said, ‘Mike, I know you could work it out…” [Laughs]

Zab Judah:

“So, they made you work like crazy.”

Mike Tyson:

“This guy gave me a year. You’re so happy yesterday night, man. I know you could work it off, man. You come so far. It’s boom. Give me another year. Can you imagine that? Um, so I had, um, so by passing this GED they took that year away so I flunked the f**king GED, right? And so, I flunked the GED and got mad. And so I had to start dating this, um, counselor and stuff. Giving her money and doing really, um, some nasty stuff to her and, um, she let me pass this test but they took my time off, so I could go home with three years instead of four.”

Zab Judah:

“Right. Right.”

Mike Tyson:

“This is serious… [inaudible] We’re laughing now but I had four years. I had another year when he gave me that. And I was really, um, I was really, um, socialized in the prison system by then. Everybody knew me. I’m trusting. I don’t need nobody to walk with me. And then say, hey you got another year. And what do you matter to me how do you think I felt, I felt about that. It just blew my mind. I didn’t know how this prison system worked. They get written up and then after you got too many write-ups, after three months, this doesn’t happen. People had to give you this, after you establish, you, everybody’s your friend. You like all the guards. They like you.”

Zab Judah:

“Right. Right.”

Mike Tyson:

“And, um, they give you, hey, another year. I know, I know you could get up you came a long way for six months. I know you can get really… [inaudible] I said what? A year? Four years in prison? It came down to 3. They cut it all the way down to three years. I was doing 69. They further gave me 63. No, 63. Then they took 10 off. Then it was 53. And then they gave me 10. And I had to do 3. I got 7 on parole, I guess. Yeah.”




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