Saturday, October 6, 2007
Former Olympic triple gold medal winner Marion Jones pleaded guilty to making false statements to federal agents in connection with the investigation of the Bay Area Laboratory Co-operative (Balco) steroids operation. Jones admitted to lying about her use of what she was told at one time was flaxseed oil but came to learn was a steroid known as "The Clear" -- a specialty of Balco. Jones had long denied taking steroids, going so far as to sue Balco's founder for $25 million for libel when he identified her as a steroids user. Her former coach is scheduled to go to trial on November 26 for three counts of making false statements to federal agents during the Balco investigation. The Balco investigation has caught up with a number of leading track stars, including former 100 meter world record holder Tim Montgomery, who earlier entered a guilty plea. Under Olympic rules, Jones may be stripped of the five medals she won in the 2000 Games in Sydney.
With Jones' guilty plea, the spotlight falls -- once again -- on baseball home run king Barry Bonds, who has been cut loose by his long-time team, the San Francisco Giants. Bonds testified before a federal grand jury in 2003 that he took what he too thought was flaxseed oil, and he did not learn until much later that it was actually The Clear. Bonds' former trainer, Greg Anderson, remains in custody for civil contempt for his refusal to testify before a federal grand jury in San Francisco about steroid use at Balco; he earlier pleaded guilty to drug charges. Whether the grand jury will charge Bonds with perjury has been an issue now for well over a year now, and there has been no apparent movement to file charges or drop the case. With Bonds' chase to break the all-time home run record complete, will federal prosecutors make a move on Bonds? An AP story (here) discusses Jones' guilty plea. (ph)