Lawyer: Test vindicates doping denials

Updated: June 18, 2004, 8:25 AM ET
Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO -- In the latest attempt to clear her name from drug allegations, Marion Jones took a lie detector test that her lawyer says vindicates the star sprinter.

Jones took the test from Ronald Homer, a certified polygraph examiner, on Wednesday and her attorney, Joseph Burton, sent the results to the United States Anti-Doping Agency on Thursday.

"The passing of the polygraph just vindicates and supports fully the position Marion has taken through all of this time," Burton said on a conference call. "That's the position that she never, ever used performance-enhancing drugs at any time from anybody at all. This polygraph examination fully proves that."

USADA spokesman Rich Wanninger said the agency wouldn't comment on a specific case but that "all credible information will receive the appropriate consideration."

Jones was asked two questions about performance-enhancing drugs in the exam and Homer determined that she was telling the truth. Homer spent more than 20 years as a polygraph examiner for the FBI. Another examiner concurred after conducted a blind analysis of the results.

The questions Jones was asked and answered "no" to were:

-- Did you ever personally use performance-enhancing drugs?

-- Are you now lying about any personal use of performance-enhancing drugs?

While the term "performance-enhancing drugs" was not defined, Burton said he took it to mean "anything that was illegal or improper."

Jones is one of the most prominent athletes who testified in a federal probe of a Bay Area drug lab accused of illegally distributing steroids.

USADA is investigating Jones for possible doping violations. She met with doping officials last month to discuss their evidence, and received a letter from the agency last week asking follow-up questions.

USADA is building cases based on documents and other circumstantial evidence deriving from the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative case. Athletes can be banned without a positive drug test.

"Certainly in our opinion, they have more than ample reason to close this matter and exonerate Marion Jones," Burton said. "This matter should be over if there is any fairness in the process. ... Marion has done everything possible to put this matter behind her."

Jones has already testified before a federal grand jury and answered questions in private from USADA officials last month. Burton said she would consider taking another lie detector test if USADA asked to conduct it.

She said in a news conference Wednesday that she would only answer further questions from USADA in a public forum and called on the Senate to hold a hearing. Her legal team sent a letter to Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., the chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, on Wednesday to formally request a hearing.

Earlier Thursday, World Anti-Doping Agency chief Dick Pound said Jones' call for a public hearing was a "grandstand performance," and he accused her of trying to avoid proper anti-doping hearing procedures.

"I don't think that an athlete for whatever reason is able to subvert that process," Pound said in a conference call from Montreal. "I think it was very unfortunate that Marion was advised to use words like secret court with respect to USADA."


Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press

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