In another attempt to clear her name, Olympic champion Marion Jones wants federal prosecutors to release her grand jury testimony so she can give it to the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency.
Jones met with USADA officials last month to discuss possible drug evidence against her and received a letter from the agency Tuesday asking follow-up questions.
Jones, who won an unprecedented five track medals at the 2000 Sydney Olympics and has hinted she may try to match that at the Athens Games, repeatedly has denied using performance-enhancing drugs and has vowed to fight any USADA charges.
She was one of several dozen athletes who gave secret testimony last fall before a grand jury that ultimately indicted four men for reportedly distributing steroids to top athletes.
Her announcement yesterday came on the same day her former husband, C.J. Hunter, released a statement saying he was cooperating with law enforcement authorities. It was unclear whether Hunter had talked to those agents about Jones.
“Marion Jones, in a continuing effort to do everything possible to make clear that her accomplishments are the results of her hard work and God-given talents, has formally asked [prosecutors] to release her grand jury testimony,” her San Francisco-based attorney, Joseph Burton, said in a statement. “The sworn testimony will confirm what Marion has said publicly time after time. She has never, ever used performance-enhancing drugs.”
Jones’ lawyers filed a request Thursday to release the testimony. Prosecutors in San Francisco said they could not comment.
The USADA probe of Jones and other athletes is based on documents from the grand jury investigation that were subpoenaed by a Senate committee and then turned over to the USADA.
Hunter, a former world champion shot putter, tested positive for steroids four times in 2000, when he was married to Jones.
“C.J. Hunter is cooperating and intends to continue cooperating with all relevant governmental and law enforcement entities,” said Hunter’s attorney, Angela DeMent. “He’s doing it because the government wants him to fully cooperate. He did not speak voluntarily.”
DeMent said from her office in Raleigh, N.C., that she could not comment whether Jones’ name came up in those discussions.
Hunter’s drug tests showed the 1999 world champion had 1,000 times the allowable amount of the steroid nandrolone in his system. His nutritionist, Victor Conte, claimed at a press conference at the 2000 Olympics that the positive tests were the result of contaminated iron supplements.
Conte, who also has worked with Jones, is the founder of the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (BALCO), reportedly at the heart of a ring that distributed steroids to top athletes. Conte and three other men, including Barry Bonds’ personal trainer, have pleaded not guilty.
Hunter, now a strength coach at N.C. State, could help investigators clear up questions about a $7,350 check written from Jones’ bank account to Conte in September 2000. The New York Times has reported the check was written by Hunter and the signature appeared to be from him.
Jones was married to Hunter for nearly three years. They separated in June 2001 and divorced shortly after. In a press conference this week in the Czech Republic, where she was competing, Jones admitted she made poor decisions in the past.
“Once I found out what my ex-husband did, or was alleged to have done, I parted ways,” Jones said. “Yes, my decision-making in the past about certain people was a little suspect, and I was young and made decisions that I’ve since corrected.”
Jones now lives with sprinter Tim Montgomery, and they have a nearly 1-year-old son.
Montgomery, who holds the world record in the 100 meters, was among four prospective Olympic medalists who received letters this week informing them the USADA is pursuing possible doping cases against them that could keep them out of the Athens Games.