Tim Donaghy's prosecutor goes to Washington

Jeffrey Goldberg, the Assistant U.S. Attorney who prosecuted Delaware County’s most notorious ex-referee, Tim Donaghy, is taking his corruption-fighting skills from Brooklyn to Washington. He starts tomorrow in the D.C.-based Foreign Corrupt Practices Act unit, a relatively small, elite team of lawyers who investigate and prosecute corporate bribery of foreign officials – typically crooked U.S. businesspeople trying to land contracts in other countries.

Goldberg, 40, a New York native, made his bones prosecuting organized crime figures, including Alphonse “Allie Boy” Persico, and later handled securities fraud cases. But he’s best known around these parts as the attorney who helped put Donaghy and his suburban Philadelphia co-conspirators in jail.

Donaghy, a Villanova grad and Havertown native, served about 13 months in prison on wire-fraud and gambling charges after he admitted to accepting cash from Jimmy “Baba” Battista and Thomas Martino, two childhood pals from Cardinal O'Hara High, while working as an NBA referee. In exchange, Donaghy gave them inside betting tips. Battista, of Phoenixville, and Martino, of Boothwyn, pleaded guilty to interstate gambling and wire-fraud charges, respectively.

It's unclear what role, if any, the NBA scandal played in Goldberg's recruitment for the D.C. unit, but it certainly can't hurt to have such a high-profile case on your resume. I caught up with Jeff “No Comment” Goldberg today by phone … but he declined to comment on his promotion.

That’s exactly what I'd bet he'd say.