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Albert Belle agrees to settle a lawsuit

CLEVELAND, Oct. 24 -- Former Cleveland Indians player Albert Belle has reached a settlement in principle in an $850,000 damage action filed by a teenager after a 1996 Halloween egg-throwing incident. The agreement, if finalized next week, would preclude a civil trial now scheduled for Nov. 10.

The incident involved several boys who threw eggs at Belle's home. It ended when Belle allegedly bumped one of the teenagers with his sport- utility vehicle. The boy then sued Belle. Details of the settlement haven't been made public, but a lawyer for the teenager said the deal would include a confidentiality clause prohibiting either side from talking about terms of the settlement. Belle, now with the Chicago White Sox, was convicted of reckless operation and fined $100. The boys were found delinquent and sentenced to five hours each of community service. At least four boys were accused of throwing eggs at Belle's suburban Cleveland condominium. Belle allegedly chased them in his vehicle and struck a 16-year-old Cleveland Heights youth in his knee with the car's bumper. The boy claimed he hadn't thrown any eggs and filed his civil suit in January 1996. The matter of Belle's gambling has yet to be resolved. That subject came up during depositions held in preparation for the civil trial. Belle admitted under oath to losing at least $40,000 in bets placed on professional and college football and basketball games, but not on major league baseball. The gambling issue is part of a federal investigation into bookmaking in Cleveland but federal officials said Belle is not a subject of that investigation.

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