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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Boxing analyst Al Bernstein interviewed during probe of Las Vegas stripper’s drug ring

FILE - International Boxing Hall of Fame inductee Al Bernstein, a broadcaster, looks out to the crowd during the induction ceremony in Canastota, N.Y., Sunday, June 10, 2012. (Heather Ainsworth / AP)

A Coeur d’Alene surgeon fighting federal charges that he helped his Las Vegas stripper ex-wife launder money from her drug distribution ring claims agents should have targeted Hall of Fame boxing broadcaster Al Bernstein.

According to court records, Dr. Stanley Toelle’s attorney describes an interview between FBI agents and Bernstein in which the radio and television personality acknowledged meeting Loren Toelle at a strip club and then developing a relationship with her.

“The defense has learned that Loren Toelle was having an affair with the famous boxing promoter Al Bernstein while she was living in Las Vegas,” the attorney, Nic Vieth wrote, citing transcripts of the FBI interview he obtained in discovery.

He described how Bernstein told FBI agents that he provided Loren Toelle with cash and he knew that her family “members were dealing illegal drugs, and … that he purchased oxycontin from them on several occasions,” the court record states.

Reached in Las Vegas, Bernstein, 66, denied Toelle’s allegations that he helped launder Loren Toelle’s drug proceeds and purchased drugs.

“While I understand this attorney has to put up a defense, these statements regarding any wrongdoing by me are absurd,” Bernstein said.

He said he met with the FBI but declined comment on the interview.

“I knew these people,” Bernstein said. “That’s basically it.”

Assistant U.S. Attorney Traci Whelan reserved comment on the newest filing in the case that is set to go to trial in March.

“We are going to try the case in the courtroom with the jury, and not litigate the case in the media,” she said.

Loren Toelle, 52, pleaded guilty Jan. 18 to conspiracy to distribute drugs and conspiracy to launder money.

She faces a maximum of 40 years on the drug charges and 20 years on the money laundering charge. Her sentencing before U.S. District Court Judge Lynn Winmill is set for May 2.

She is is the ninth of 11 defendants to plead guilty in connection to the conspiracy, in which drugs were moved from Nevada and California to Idaho, Washington, Montana and North Dakota from 2009 until early this year.

Stanley Toelle said he did not know that his ex-wife used thousands of his dollars to set up a drug distribution ring.

Loren Toelle admitted that she personally received $538,000 in proceeds from the illegal activity. Although she acknowledged that she used Stanley Toelle’s money over seven years to build what she described as her “empire,” she maintains that the surgeon was in the dark about her activities.

“If I am called to testify in trial, I will make it abundantly clear that Stanley Toelle was never part of any organization which was distributing narcotics and concealing or laundering the proceeds,” she said in a court record.

Vieth, in his court filings, accuses the government of pushing the prosecution so it can seize his client’s holdings.

Federal prosecutors are seeking forfeiture of at least $1.3 million in cash, Stanley Toelle’s 4,700-square-foot house overlooking Silver Beach on Lake Coeur d’Alene, three homes in Las Vegas and eight vehicles, including four registered to Loren Toelle and two registered to Stanley Toelle.