Sprinter's lawyers try to prove her innocence

SAN FRANCISCO -- Marion Jones' lawyers revealed documents they were given by investigators in an attempt to prove that U.S. doping officials don't have evidence of steroid use by the star
sprinter that would ban her from the Olympics.

Jones' team was given the documents -- which she had seen before testifying before a grand jury in November -- on Monday after meeting with U.S. Anti-Doping Agency officials. The evidence, which was seized in a raid of the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative last year, were shown to The Associated Press on Tuesday night.

They contain negative urine tests that were purportedly from Jones, a ledger of her drug test results, a calendar with the initials M.J. that investigators implied was a schedule for steroid
use during 2001, and a check written from Jones' bank account to BALCO founder Victor Conte.

Conte was one of four men indicted earlier this year for involvement in an alleged steroid-distribution ring. Many top athletes, including Jones and baseball slugger Barry Bonds, have been linked to Conte and BALCO.

A Senate committee obtained evidence from the grand jury and gave it to USADA in hopes of guaranteeing a drug-free U.S. Olympic team in Athens in August.

Jones' lawyers deny that the documents were about Jones, who won five medals at the 2000 Olympics, and that any evidence falls far short of the "beyond a reasonable doubt" standard USADA has said it would use to ban athletes from the Olympics without a positive drug test.

"They are using statements, documents, rumor and innuendo that can not be corroborated," said Jones' attorney, Rich Nichols. "To accuse and ban an icon of the Olympics in track and field, a Marion Jones, who has never tested positive in her career, it's unbelievable."

USADA director of legal affairs Travis Tygart would only say that Jones' team was given documents at Monday's meeting.

It was not clear if this was all of the evidence USADA has against Jones. But her lawyers said it matched what they saw in November and have no reason to believe that prosecutors or USADA
was holding anything back.

The most incriminating evidence if proven accurate is the calendar that runs from March-August 2001 and has references to many track and field events during that season. It alleges to show a schedule of drug use with a note saying "start clear" on March 29.

Last summer, the "clear" was determined to be the substance tetrahydrogestrinone, or THG -- which was at the center of the BALCO investigation.

Many of the dates have the letters C, E, G and I. The letter C appears to refer to THG, and The New York Times cited a government affidavit saying E could be the masking agent epitestosterone, G could be human growth hormone and I could be insulinlike growth factor.

There were also references to Trevor, C.J. and Victor, which appear to be her former coach, Trevor Graham, her then-husband C.J. Hunter, and Conte.

But Jones' lawyers poked holes at the calendar evidence, saying that the M.J. could stand for anyone, the fonts for March and April were different Monday than they were in November when they first saw them, and that there were three pages for July, including two that had times that appeared to be from men in the 100 meters. The times were 9.84 seconds, 9.86 and 9.97, which are all more than a half-second better than the women's record of 10.49.

The drug tests, which were also obtained from a file with Jones' name on it at BALCO's offices in Burlingame, have no names on them and only ID numbers, which are different for each one. Jones' lawyers said she never gave a urine sample at BALCO and provided plane tickets to show she was out of the country on two of the three dates.

All of the samples, tested by Quest Diagnostics and the results sent to BALCO, were negative for steroids. There were also no collection sites or IDs of the collector on the test. There were also two tests on June 6, 2001, with vastly different results in levels of testosterone and epitestosterone.

There was also a blood test from March 28, 2001, with Jones'
name on it from American Medical Laboratories in Chantilly, Va.,
where Jones' lawyers say she has never been. That result was faxed
to a number in North Carolina where Jones' lawyers say Hunter
lived. Jones split up with Hunter earlier that year and no longer
lived at that address, her lawyers said.

Hunter was also linked to the check from M. Jones and
Associates, Inc., written to Conte for $7,350 on Sept. 7, 2000. The
New York Times has reported that the check was written by Hunter
and the signature appeared to be from him.

Nichols, a former track athlete who helped write the first drug
rules in the sport, said he never considered an athlete being
banned for a non-analytical positive without an admission of guilt.

USADA says it has the power to bring a drug case against an
athlete with circumstantial evidence.

The information from the documents was first reported by The New
York Times and the San Jose Mercury News.