CNN, January 11, 2008
Olympic track star Marion Jones was sentenced in a federal court Friday to six months in prison, two years of probation and community service for lying to federal prosecutors investigating the use of performance-enhancing substances.
Jones had pleaded guilty in October to charges of lying to a federal agent in 2003 about her use of steroids, and was sentenced on two counts—getting six months in prison on the first count and two months on the second, to be served concurrently.
But Karas noted that “athletes in society . . . serve as role models to children around the world. When there is a widespread level of cheating, it sends all the wrong messages.”
“People live with their choices,” he added, “and the choice not to play by the rules has been compounded by the choice to break the law.”
Jones told the court in October that her then-coach, Trevor Graham, first gave her steroids in 1999, telling her it was flaxseed oil. She said she took the steroid known as “the clear,” or THG, from that time until 2001, including during her competition at the 2000 Summer Olympic Games in Sydney. Her admission contradicted years of public—- and often angry—denials from her regarding steroid use.
In 2004, she filed a $25 million defamation lawsuit against Victor Conte, founder of BALCO (Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative), marketer of THG, accusing him of trying to “destroy her career and reputation” when he said he supplied her with performance-enhancing drugs. The lawsuit was settled out of court for an undisclosed amount, and Conte in 2005 pleaded guilty to conspiracy and money laundering.
A statement released by the U.S. attorney’s office also outlined Jones’s complicity in a multimillion-dollar check-fraud scheme. The money-laundering plot involved Olympic gold medalists Timothy Montgomery and Steve Riddick and more than a dozen others who attempted to defraud numerous banks by altering and counterfeiting checks. Jones originally claimed to have no knowledge of the scheme.