Why You Shouldn't Believe Marion Jones: Vol. 41

Story by Eric.

This is the 41st submission in a long series about Marion Jones, a former elite sprinter who won honour and earned endorsements, fame and fortune by method of fraud. This series continues with the Victor Conte story, one which categorically ties Marion Jones to steroids.

Though parts of this section may be historical in nature, its inclusion is relevant to the sum of the whole.

If Victor Conte really was a liar, then his statements were likely not true, and those accounts he stated should never have been accepted in a court of law. However, the evidences against those who have been banned and fined have spoken for themselves.

Marion Jones, in providing incriminating evidence which impeached her in 2007, validated points Victor Conte had made whilst having been declared a liar.

Arnold was also one who spoke about Conte’s name dropping, which included statements Conte made regarding Marion Jones.

In 2001 Arnold switched Conte from norbolethone to THG, which he'd just developed, because the former had begun to draw scrutiny from drug testers. Conte continued to pass Arnold's products on to prominent athletes, dropping the names of sprinter Marion Jones and others when he updated Arnold on their successes. [1]

Simply overlooking persons known merely as “associates” and taking into consideration only inner-circle, fortress-penetrating, trusted persons with whom Marion Jones had very close, personal, known contacts and relationships, one can wonder how Marion Jones was, as earlier referenced, shocked at the discovery of a dirty hand caught attached to her arm.

A matching set of Marion Jones’s closest possible associates – her then-husband, and her proceeding live-in boyfriend – were exposed as cheats at two completely linkable junctures during Marion Jones’s career. Both defendants – through testimony – link Marion Jones to Victor Conte in depositions provided during the BALCO hearings.

Marion Jones had had other associates outside of her stronghold – yet within the same circle of coaching and developmental influence – drop off the scene after failing drug tests. Marion Jones’s coach and personal trainer were also at quarterback for those condemned associates losing teams.

During a hearing on 2004-February-27, the U.S. government agreed, as part of its discovery obligations, to provide the defence counsel a copy of the transcripts of grand jury testimony from various athletes, with both the defence counsel and the government agreeing on the record, that the production of the transcripts would be subject to a stipulated protective order – an order which has a purpose of providing a basis for handling confidential and private information for which special protection from the public domain was warranted.

Marion Jones had been granted immunity for transgressions made in connection with the BALCO scandal which was being investigated, but chose to take matters into her own hands and lie about her connection to BALCO, and stated she had had no illegal connection to them.

USADA had requested the full transcripts of Montgomery, Gaines, Collins and Alvin Harrison in order to “see the right people compete in the Olympics,” said USADA attorney Bob Vizas to U.S. District Judge Susan Illston, who denied the motion stating there was not a compelling legal basis to gain access to sealed testimony. [2]

The United States Senate provided USADA parts of those sworn depositions after a committee led by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., voted to subpoena Justice Department documents connected to the steroid-distribution and then, following a closed-door hearing of the committee with USOC and USADA officials, Mr. McCain released those unprotected parts of the depositions.

Federal prosecutor Carter Stewart had earlier stated that the U.S. Justice Department believed that aiding USADA (in providing copies of e-mail messages, bank records, wiretaps and blood tests) would “undercut the ability of witnesses to come into these grand jury proceedings and testify truthfully.” [3]

Marion Jones made an attempt to have her records opened to the USADA – and apparently asked the USADA for help to have those records opened. Marion Jones requested an opportunity on 2004-June-16 – through a statement released to the Associated Press, calling it “a major announcement” – for the world to see she was “telling the truth” in her previous testimonies, and wanted this conducted in a public forum which best could modelled after a judicial proceeding.

I will answer all the questions USADA is asking of me for the third time. However, this time I will not answer them in secret and behind closed doors. I will answer them in public in the light of day so the world can hear the questions, hear my responses, see the information and see for themselves that I am telling the truth, she said.

We can answer these questions before the United States Senate, which has shown an interest in this matter, or some other public forum modelled after a judicial proceeding.[4]

That same day, Joseph Burton, one of her attorneys, contacted Senator John McCain by fax and US mail, requesting Mr. McCain consider convening a public hearing in which the USADA, for the second time, could question Marion Jones’s supposed involvement with BALCO.

Senator McCain acknowledged the effort made to bring up the matter before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, which he was chairperson, but referred Burton back to the USADA for due diligence process protocol.

I appreciate Ms. Jones’s efforts to bring her matter before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, which I chair, but the Committee is neither a court of law nor an arbitration panel. I believe that the most appropriate forum for her to address her concerns is USADA’s process. I understand the eagerness of Ms. Jones to have her status determined with respect to her desire to participate in this summer’s Olympic Games in Athens, but her request for a Committee hearing ignores USADA's jurisdiction over all U.S. Olympic athlete doping cases and the adjudication process adhered to by USADA to resolve such cases.

To date, there have been no reports that Ms. Jones has been notified by USADA that any action will be taken against her for a potential doping violation. Should Ms. Jones receive such notification, however, I would expect that USADA would grant her the same processes and protections afforded to all athletes similarly situated. If in such a scenario the parties agree to make the proceedings public, I would fully support that agreement. That said, I am hopeful that all of the athletes who seek to represent this country in Greece this summer, including Ms. Jones, will qualify for such a privilege based solely on their God-given athletic abilities.[5]

The USADA states that it is unable to comment on the specific facts of a pending case unless the athlete agrees to waive the rule and allows them to speak.

If legal complications were preventing Marion Jones from disclosing to the world the information she wanted available which could substantiate her claims, why did she not provide detailed accounts on the points and issues which were stacked against her – false accusations, as they would have been called – and provide the public an opportunity to review for themselves the bullet-listed items in question and the responses to those in specific detail?

The answer is uncomplicated and straightforward: She would later be exposed as a cheat and would have lost any dwindling public support for empathy in the matter.

Concerning the first USADA meeting, Marion Jones’s lawyers had requested that the doping agency retest all of Marion Jones's samples in her competition history. However, the USADA later responded in a letter addressed to Burton – which he released – that there were no saved samples of Marion Jones's urine or blood available because the official testing and storing laboratories had already discarded those physical specimens since they were negative based on “routine screens” – not screens for THG, EPO or any other designer drug unknown to testers before Graham surrendered the syringe to the UCLA laboratory.

The UCLA laboratory was able to re-test samples taken from track and field athletes from earlier in 2003 following Dr. Catlin's eight-team’s chemical detection identification of THG and subsequent development of a test for it – a pain-staking process (which, according to The New York Times, the team initially made a guess at what the molecule might look like, then tried to make that molecule and run it through the spectrometer until what they had made matched the pattern made by what was in the syringe [6]) which took 14 weeks in total to identify and crack. According to the Guardian, Catlin’s team found THG present in an unusually high number of re-tested specimen collections taken from American athletes earlier in the year.

Marion Jones, coincidentally, did not compete in 2003, again rendering void a request for an in-competition sample to be tested. She was tested three times by USADA that year – one which she was temporarily away from the track and the long jump pit to give birth to her first child, Monty.

The IAAF, following the USADA’s statement detailing its knowledge of THG on 2003-October-16, issued a statement five days later stating it would test every sample it had stored from the 2003 World Championships. No new names were added to the list of positives from the re-testing.

What also was disclosed to The New York Times from that three-hour meeting between the USADA, Marion Jones and her attorneys was that Marion Jones refused to have a court reporter record her comments, something USADA had planned to use “to avoid any subsequent misunderstanding,” according to Tygart, who has published law review articles addressing anti-doping issues.

Marion Jones would have had a 30-day window of notification of the availability of the transcript granted to her to review her written deposition and to have made any changes to the deposition – and provide a reason for doing so – which did not contradict her original statements; she would have been entitled by law to have made corrections to the transcript, though not to make substantive changes to her testimony (Greenway v. International Paper Co). There are certain courts which do permit that Rule 30(e) is broad enough to have allowed for Marion Jones to have had no restrictions placed on the substance of any changes made to her testimony, though had there been altered testimony which differed completely from the original testimony, both the original and the changed transcripts could have been used by USADA to attack her credibility and impeach her.

If Marion Jones left a deposition – which is still legally binding in a court of law, as it is a statement made under oath and admissible as evidence – her sworn testimony would have contradicted earlier statements made to the United States Grand Jury.

Furthermore, Marion Jones, when she had originally been suspected of EPO use following her “A”-sample positive, is stated to have never provided an explanation to Howards for why she tested positive according to stories The Washington Post and the USA Today printed when Marion Jones was vindicated by her “B”-sample analysis.

Burton, when he had a viable opportunity to have everything Marion Jones could truthfully state on record documented, instead said he wanted to have her talk under oath and answer questions not to the USADA alone, but to the public as to have an “impartial” hearing, leaving open a question as to how the USADA could have been less partial with stated, recorded, direct words from Marion Jones from which to draw factual information and make informed decisions.

An item which I have found curious in this case is that had this been a trial, if you, yourselves, would have been the capable jury responsible for determining whether you’d accept the corroborative evidence; if you’d be responsible for determining whether you would accept whether or not that the evidence is corroborative; and if you’d give accord to that evidence whatever weight (if there was any) that you would consider appropriate.

Marion Jones’s team never provides you that chance, forcing an issue of presumption based on their word rather than assurance based on examination which should pass tests of repudiation. The consequences of those presumptions, naturally, are that the average bystander won’t personally refute or question those claims, and very few did.

Her counsel stated to you that the UCLA laboratory evidences were “borderline” substantiations of truth, and with regard and respect to the supporting document they alleged they had received from USADA and shared with The New York Times (copies of several negative urine tests and a blood test purportedly belonging to Marion Jones; a check written to BALCO; a ledger that seemed to list test results and a calendar bearing the initials M.J. that appeared to contain code letters for prohibited performance-enhancing substances), you are told – without being able to see for yourselves – that you, as rationale people, should believe Marion Jones’s team, because they said so.

Marion Jones also told you to believe she was clean on earlier occasion, because she said so.

By implementing a strategy which had them turning to The New York Times, knowing that by doing so the internationally-acclaimed reporter of news would do its job – inform and involve you – her counsel had planned to bank on a credible resource providing what it deemed fair and accurate news so that you would not question the evidences, but believe the reporters to have done that for you.

The USADA, in pursuing further corroborative leads in the BALCO investigation, sent a follow-up letter to Burton requesting more information from Marion Jones. Burton made a statement which again circled the facts and omitted concrete evidence to support his assertion that she was a clean athlete.

At this point, Marion has answered all of the questions asked of her by the government and U.S.A.D.A.; she has passed every drug test she has been given, Burton said in the statement. And there exists no information suggesting that she has ever failed a test. It is time for U.S.A.D.A. to be fair and recognize that Marion Jones has accomplished what she has accomplished because of her God-given talents and hard work and let her move forward with her life.[7]

Burton, again, made the circular argument that insofar as Marion Jones had passed every drug test (more than 160 administered to her they state) she was given, and never failed a test, one should have put a stop to pursuing her for performance-enhancing drugs charges and had conceded that she had accomplished her feats on her natural ability.

What he fails to address, consequently, is that Marion Jones passed drug tests which were administered using standard protocol which was absent the technology or the understanding to detect foreign substances supplied by BALCO. Michelle Collins also passed every one of the tests administered to her, as did Chryste Gaines and Tim Montgomery.

Marion Jones, speaking on her own behalf of her previous test results, stated to the Guardian on 2004-June-8 that any – and all – of her previous tests stored would prove to show no signs of performance-enhancing drug usage, though three years later, she’d confess to having used drugs at a time when she never tested positive.

I openly requested - begged - USADA to re-test any samples they might have and, as you know, I am one of the most tested athletes in the world,” said Jones.

There has to be a sample out there and, if you can find it, test it and I can promise you it will be a negative test. I'm 100% sure I'm not concerned about anything that I've done in my career.[8]

Marion Jones’s final statement, “I’m 100% sure I’m not concerned about anything that I’ve done in my career,” is exactly why her admission of guilt is not to be taken at face-value, rather simply another utterance from a woman who believed she was superior to mankind in all respects. She returned her medals and is awaiting a sentence, but she has won more than she stands to lose in this game she had been playing since 1997.

I’ll really reserve comment to that statement for CNN’s Miles O’Brien, who had an opportunity to speak with Marion Jones’s counsel, Mr. Burton, on 2004-June-17 – six months prior to his second interview with him (which followed Conte’s “20/20” programme allegations) following a news conference in which Marion Jones stated she wanted evidence against her made public.

Miles O’Brien: “Mr. Burton, one of the things that Marion Jones has said is that she has taken 160 drug tests and has never failed a drug test. Isn't the whole point behind the particular substance that they're talking about, THG, that's it's undetectable in drug tests? So isn't that sort of defense of taking and passing 100 drug tests kind of a moot point in this?

Joe Burton: “No, I don't think it's moot at all. It shows that she's never failed a test. We've asked USADA to find any test that they can, any sample from Marion Jones that they can, and test it. They certainly have the ability now to detect THG. And Marion, being open as she has in this process, said, go find any sample of mine that you can find in life and test it, and test it for THG. And she's not concerned about that, because she knows that she has never taken a performance-enhancing drug, in any test of any sample that she's ever done is going to be positive.

So, I don't think it's moot, and it shows that she is willing to put herself out there, to open herself up, to have this whole process be transparent and have the world judge her as being drug-free.[9]

Not only was Marion Jones’s camp taking the offensive in their Public Relations plot through requesting samples be re-opened and undergo re-testing (when deterioration of that drug would have not yielded adverse findings), Marion Jones’s camp then went so far as to request of the courts the release of Marion Jones’s Grand Jury testimony so that it could be handed over to the USADA as confirming evidence of her never having taken performance-enhancing drugs. What they also did was lie right to your collective face, stating that Marion Jones had never taken a performance-enhancing drug, though they knew the BALCO issue would lurk in the background until she was called to provide an account for her deceitfulness.

Two schools of thought arose from this line of reasoning: To demonstrate that Marion Jones had nothing to hide, and that, by handing over her testimony, she could avoid having to answer any further follow-up questions posed by USADA to circumvent any contradictory statements she could have made. What her attorney team did in this case was reduce itself to the defensive position of merely picking at the USADA’s case against Marion Jones with a “you can't prove it” line of attack.


[1] US Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, ”McCain Responds to Request from Marion Jones for Hearing on USADA Investigation”, 2004-06-18 [2] The New York Times, “Decoding a Mystery Chemical”, 2003-10-22 [3] The New York Times, “Facing Marion Jones And a Lack of Options”, 2004-06-10 [4] The Guardian, “Jones Hits Back at ‘ignorant’ Rogge”, 2004-06-07 [5] CNN “American Morning”, 2004-06-17 [6] Sports Illustrated, “Is This Dr. Evil”, 2006-10-03 [7] USA Today, “Judge rejects Olympic doping agency’s bid for BALCO testimony,” 2004-07-09 [8] Boston Globe, “Judge bans USADA from testimony”, 2004-07-10 [9] CBS News, “Sprinter Wants Public Dope Hearing”, 2004-06-16

0 kommentarer: