Tyson checks into rehab for 'various addictions'

PHOENIX -- A lawyer for Mike Tyson said Wednesday the former heavyweight champion has checked himself into an in-patient treatment program for "various addictions" as he awaits trial on drug charges.

"He needed to get involved in something that would help him with his addiction," said David Chesnoff of Las Vegas. Chesnoff wouldn't describe Tyson's addictions, but police said the boxer told officers that he used cocaine frequently.

Chesnoff said Tyson checked himself into an undisclosed facility shortly after appearing in a Phoenix courtroom.

Tyson pleaded not guilty on Jan. 22 in Maricopa County Superior Court to felony drug possession and paraphernalia possession counts and two misdemeanor counts of driving under the influence of drugs.

A pre-trial hearing has been scheduled for Feb. 26.

Chesnoff said he'd prefer that Tyson stay in the treatment facility, but "if he's required to be in court and he doesn't get excused, he'll be in court."

County Attorney Andrew Thomas has said Tyson has run out of second chances, and prosecutors will pursue prison time. If convicted on all four drug charges, Tyson could be imprisoned as much as 7½ years. A spokesman for Thomas did not return calls Wednesday.

Tyson, 40, previously was convicted of rape in Indiana in 1992 and pleaded no contest to misdemeanor assault charges in Maryland in 1999.

He became the youngest heavyweight champion in history in 1986 when, at age 20, Tyson knocked out Trevor Berbick. Four years later, he was knocked out by James "Buster" Douglas. By 1997, Tyson's reputation sank to a career low when he bit Evander Holyfield's ear during a fight.

On Dec. 29, police arrested Tyson in Scottsdale after his BMW was spotted weaving through traffic, almost hitting a police SUV. When officers stopped him, police said they saw the former heavyweight champion trying to wipe a white powder off the console of his car.

Tyson had bags of cocaine in his back pocket and another bag in a pack of cigarettes, according to court documents.

Police said Tyson told officers he uses cocaine "any time he can get his hands on it."