Why You Shouldn't Believe Marion Jones: Vol. 51

Story by Eric.

This is the 51st submission in a long series about Marion Jones, a former elite sprinter who won (stole) honour and earned (stole) endorsements, fame and fortune by method of fraud.

This story is being told in its entirety, because Marion Jones is unable to do it herself. Though parts of this story may be historical in nature, they are of essense to the sum of the whole.

My last entry concluded with Dr. Werner Franke, a German anti-doping official and mollecular biologist, stating that there was no reason for Marion Jones's T/E ratio to be tested. The New York Times illuminates more light on the urine testing allegations with the following information:

A government affidavit released in February said that 98 checks had been written to Quest from BALCO from Sept. 13, 2000, through May 20, 2002, and that 33 of them contained the notation “steroids.” The affidavit noted that Victor Conte Jr., the founder of BALCO, had made Internet postings “referencing Quest as a credible lab for measuring testosterone.”

The fact that certain Quest labs performed blood and urine tests for steroids, the government affidavit said, suggested “'the possibility that Conte is sending his athlete clients' blood or urine samples to Quest in order to determine whether the presence of steroids can be detected.” The BALCO documents included urine tests sent to Quest just before and after the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia; a calendar containing the initials M.J. and letters like C, G, E and I, which anti-doping officials said could be a coded schedule of drug use; and a handwritten ledger with the name Marion J. and what appeared to be T/E test results, as well as references like “IOC.”[1]

The New York Times continues by stating that, according to the documents found in a BALCO file bearing Marion Jones name and shown to them by Marion Jones attorneys, a urine test was collected by Quest Diagnostics on 2000-September-13, just prior to the Sydney Olympics.

According to Mark Zeigler of the San Diego Union-Tribune, Victor Uralets, the director of sports testing at Quest, had mixed feelings about BALCO as a client, but had never met Conte.

It seemed to be quite legitimate,” Uralets said. “We didn't know what they were doing. We thought he was testing athletes, but I didn't know the level of athletes. I was never comfortable with this client, but I had no reason to stop relations with them because I had no evidence they were pre-testing.

But knowing what I know now, I don't want to be associated in any way with Victor Conte.

Conte explained how the tests were carried out.

All they got was a number and (the notation) 'for research purposes only,' ” said Conte, who kept a key at his office matching names to the numbers.[2]

IRS Special agent Novitzky, notating the testimony provided by Conte on site at the BALCO lab on 2003-September-3, and prepared as a Memorandum of Interview to the IRS Criminal Investigation Division two days later, recounted details similar to the same claim identified in the previous entry, though Marion Jones was not listed in the account.

The IRS Memo also states that Conte, himself – during a non-search warrant consent search of a storage facility in Burlingame – pointed out two boxes to Special Agent Erwin Rogers of the IRS-CID containing medical records of many of the athletes involved in the BALCO affair. According to the memo, the athlete files were seized and transported by Special Agent Wendy Bergland, and an inventory of those items – including confiscated drugs and substances in the locker – was conducted by IRS-CID Special agent Mike Wilson.

(Note: Conte argued in court that he did not voluntarily consent to the government’s search of the off-site storage locker on 2003-September-03, and that those records should be suppressed. The government had the burden of showing that consent to a search sans warrant against Conte’s premise was voluntary. The Circuit Judge utilized several factors when determining whether consent was voluntary, including (1) whether Conte was in custody, (2) whether the arresting officers had their guns drawn during the arrest, (3) whether Miranda warnings had been given to Conte, (4) whether Conte was told he had a right not to consent, and (5) whether Conte was told a search warrant could be obtained.

No single factor was condemning, and the court determined the voluntary context by considering the totality of the surrounding circumstances. Conte was granted an evidentiary hearing to determine whether he had voluntarily consented to the government’s search of the off-site storage locker, but later withdrew his request for that hearing. A confession may be excluded because of improprieties by the police, or because it was not recorded by an audio machine. An accused such as Conte may say that the confession is true, and it can still properly be excluded.)[3]

Another urine test, according to the documents mentioned by The New York Times, was collected on 2000-October-3, just after the Games. Both, according to the document were well within the acceptable T/E ratio of 6:1, or 6.

Marion Jones’s attorneys maintained that she was travelling on the collection dates in 2000 – a fact which is highly unbelievable considering Marion Jones was doping during that same time period.

However, have any of her attorneys made available to the public any receipt which could support this claim? Did Marion Jones make her own travel arrangements and subsequently discard her transactional records, or did a travel agency arrange the trip for her? Did her legal team ever back up with facts in the form of a verifiable alibi the information they were attempting to provide as proof? If Marion Jones was travelling on those collection dates in 2000, would she have been able to provide a sufficient, chronological account of events which could corroborate the validity of this claim?

A third collection date of 2001-06-06, where documents showed two urine tests collected on that same day – the second of which demonstrated significantly high levels of hormones and an unaccepted T/E ratio, may possibly have been two different people – neither being Marion Jones, they stated.

Marion Jones’s attorneys, known for dissecting evidence and facts, did not rule out the urine tested belonging to Marion Jones through their inference, however. Had Marion Jones, a strong proponent of a drug-free sport, ever accounted for this in her own words?

She accounted for a blanket of suspicions in her own words, namely that she was a drugs cheat.

One other item Marion Jones’s team disclosed to The New York Times from the evidence file they state was handed over to them from USADA was a blood test result taken at a Virginia laboratory 2001-March-28 which did not show any abnormalities. Her attorneys told The New York Times that Marion Jones had never been to American Medical Laboratories in Virginia – the place where the blood sample was apparently taken.

Again, as they have become accustomed to doing, her legal staff provided no immediate and final blow to the theory by stating in no uncertain terms that there was not even a possibility that Marion Jones could even have had her blood sent to the laboratory. Instead, they attacked a chain of command form, sloppy ledgers and identification codes which are to make the appearance of her guilt slim to none.

On the opposite side of this coin, would it not make sense to have some marker – though not a real identification – in order to know whose blood and/or urine samples were being processed without having to create a true and living paper trail back to the donor source?

Nichols, one of Marion Jones’s lawyers, said that he requested Marion Jones’s personal physician, Richard Ferro, who became her physician in 2001, to write letters on Marion Jones’s behalf stating that she didn’t use performance-enhancing drugs, and that Ferro concluded that the blood and urine samples did not show (detectable) steroids use.

The New York Times, in covering this story, states that Nichols said Ferro never tested Marion Jones for performance-enhancing drugs, because “he did not need to,”[4] yet you, dear reader, are reminded again that Marion Jones’s legal team had every opportunity at this very juncture to have her tested specifically for performance-enhancing drugs, and have those results stored and evaluated for later use as they had requested USADA to do to prove, analytically, that Marion Jones had nothing illegal in her system.

Moreover, even if Ferro had checked for steroids, it is highly unlikely he, a personal physician, would have discovered an undetectable drug in “the clear”, which had the sole purpose of being manipulative and unseen.

The Boston Globe, also taking note to the Marion Jones’s stern denial of Hunter’s accusations, wrote that Ferro stated Marion Jones’s blood and urine samples showed nothing out of the ordinary and that he did “not believe that Marion used any type of banned performance-enhancing agents.”[5]

This “expert witness”, a personal physician who is called upon to discuss whether or not his patient showed the signs of taking performance-enhancing drugs, declared her innocence by providing his opinion in the absence of either professional experience or performance-enhancement drug testing. Did Ferro have the sufficient knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education to support testimony in the form of an expert opinion on performance-enhancing drugs?

Ferro’s merit list does include helping correct a hamstring problem plaguing Montgomery which he had developed in 1998, though there is the strongest of all possibilities and plausibility that Ferro had never, ever one single time seen the designer drug masks, agents and filters THG, EPO and other BALCO drugs were hiding behind. To his untrained, naked eye, he didn’t have a reason to believe that Marion Jones had used any type of banned substances, as none of them would have shown signs of life on his radar, so-to-speak.

What qualification, therefore, did Ferro have to speak with authority on the matter of disguised performance-enhancing drugs as they may or may not have related to Marion Jones outside of a belief she had not been involved in doping? Had he ever provided similar expertise to substantiate the claims a defence team was making of a client’s claim of being drug-free when the nature of the drugs usage was meant to deliberately deceive with extreme prejudice?

Collins, another one of the Graham-based athletes caught in a spider web of accusations without the adverse analytical test to back up USADA claims, was eventually found guilty of having used performance-enhancing drugs by means of the calendar entries, e-mail messages seized as a part of the BALCO investigation in which Collins admitted to using THG and a cream to mask its usage along with prior blood and urine tests from IOC-accredited labs confirming her admitted usage – and also proving a pattern of doping.

Collins, like Tim Montgomery and Chryste Gaines – two other athletes who refused to testify in their cases, and both accused of doping in the absence of analytical adverse findings – refused to testify at the hearing or provide any exculpatory explanation of her statements and other documents evidencing her guilt.

Collins presented neither any expert testimony nor other evidence to provide an alternative explanation for the incriminating test results. There is no Fifth Amendment protection of rights against self-incrimination in the CAS jurisdiction, and Collins’s refusal to testify was asked to be adversely held against her by the USADA (see Baxter v. Palmigiano, 425 U.S. 308, 318 (1976)), which USADA requested of CAS to view and judge as an adverse inference.

Collins’s attorneys had stated prior to her trial – upon receiving the notification letter from USADA, the following:

Allegations of anti-doping rules are easy to bring. Now comes the hard part for U.S.A.D.A. They're going to have to prove this. Michelle Collins has passed every drug test she has ever taken.”[6]

As had Tim Montgomery.

And had Marion Jones up to the day she owned up to being a cheat despite having passed those tests.

As a matter of fact, Alvin Harrison had also passed each of his tests.

And, if one takes it just one a step further, one sees that Chryste Gaines had as well.

Each of these athletes, including Collins, has been banned from the sport in the absence of an analytical finding.

Everyone except Marion Jones – despite more compelling witness evidence against her than was provided by White against Montgomery, and the refusal of these witnesses to testify on their own behalf.

Marion Jones tied the noose on her own career by coming as clean as she determined necessary with information about having lied to Federal investigators, which, in the hidden meaning of the what she stated in her news conference, was that she took drugs.

Franke, who, along with his lab worker, Hans Heid – who had been retained to represent Bernard Lagat in his CAS EPO proceedings, and who had, along with Heid, clashed with WADA over each other’s strict interpretations of rHuEPO test analysis, had raised the question several times in German news reports.

Franke stated that he believed that the USADA and USATF had been intimidated by Marion Jones’s attorneys throughout the BALCO process – despite the “sufficient indications and testimonies around Marion Jones to ban”.[7]

One basis of this book is to ensure that her attorneys have not had a chance to continue doing that, and to point out at which steps one should have not permitted their statements to have gone unchallenged.

White had also tested negative, save a test for a prescription drug called modafinil, which she stated was for a sleeping disorder, but later recanted.

None of the Victor Conte-prescribed drugs – “the clear,” insulin, EPO, growth hormone, “the cream” and a thyroid hormone called T-3 – had ever been found in suspects Montgomery, White nor Collins.

EPO had been found in Marion Jones’s body.

White had earlier testified about her use of performance-enhancing drugs before the US Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, S. 529/U.S. Anti-Doping Agency on Tuesday, 2005-May-24.

Excerpted are statements White made during that testimony:

“Shortly thereafter [her graduation from the University of Tennessee, and return home to California to train under Remi Korchemny], in December, 2000, my coach introduced me to BALCO founder Victor Conte. Conte initially gave me a package containing both legal supplements, as well as a substance which later became known as the clear or the designer steroid THG. At the time, I was unaware that anything I received from Mr. Conte was a prohibited performance enhancing substance as I was told by both my coach and Mr. Conte that the vial they had given me contained flaxseed oil. A few weeks later, Mr. Conte admitted to me that the substance he had given me was indeed not flaxseed oil, but rather a prohibited substance that if not taken properly, could yield a positive drug test. I immediately ceased using the liquid because at that time in my career I did not believe it was necessary to take performance enhancing drugs to be competitive. I competed over the next two years without the use of any performance enhancing substances despite being constantly urged to do so. I was continuously being told that the usage of performance enhancing substances were necessary to be competitive because everyone else was doing so.”

“In March of 2003, I made a choice that I will forever regret. I visited Mr. Conte at his lab which was near my home, and we sat down and devised a program to utilize performance enhancing drugs in my training and competition. At that time, I began taking EPO, the clear (or THG), the cream and stimulants. I remained on this program over the course of four months, and with the help of Mr. Conte, I was able to pass 17 drug tests both in and out of competition while utilizing these prohibited performance enhancing substances.”

“A few weeks after the World Championships, the FBI and other law enforcement agencies raided the BALCO Laboratory. A few months later, I admitted to the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) officials what I had done as I have outlined for you today. I received a two-year ban from competition for my actions, as well as lost all of the results from my previous four years of competition. I also agreed to assist USADA in its mission to clean up sport, and now offer to be of service to this Committee in any way you see fit. I believe athletes who use performance-enhancing drugs are hurting themselves, cheating the public and betraying our youth. A performance-enhancing drug user trades his or her overall health, well-being and integrity for a shot at fame and fortune.”

“My attorney, Jerrold Colton, and I have worked with assisting USADA in its efforts, and we believe this Committee should further support USADA as the fight is a very difficult one. Being mindful that my use of steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs was not detected through the extensive testing I received, USADA needs the resources to go further in its fight to detect the people who are breaking the rules. The BALCO scandal may not have been discovered without a competitor’s coach anonymously sending a syringe of THG to the USADA testers which ultimately led to the discovery of this heretofore unknown steroid.”[8]

In a twist of fate, White, a drug-cheat and a deceiver, stands to be the shining star in the BALCO bust by stating that she did, solemnly swear that she took undetectable substances which would be prohibited at all times had they been known – substances which should never be used.

Kelli White accepted accountability for her actions and she is able to look herself in the mirror and the world will forgive her, said Travis Tygart, USADA's general counsel. These two [Tim Montgomery and Chryste Gaines], for the rest of their lives, will go down as not only using drugs but doing everything possible -- and at great expense to clean athletes -- to avoid the truth.[9]


[1] The New York Times, “German Expert Warns BALCO Investigators,” 2004-06-26 [2] San Diego Union Tribune, “San Diego’s connection to BALCO scandal”, 2007-11-22 [3] United States of America v Victor Conte, Jr, CR04-44, Plaintiff’s Summary Judgment Motion [4] The New York Times, “Jones’s Lawyers Rebut Claims”, 2004-07-24 [5] The Boston Globe, “Representatives retort for Jones”, 2004-07-24 [6] The New York Times, “Drug Accusations Outlined Against 4 Elite Athletes,” 2004-06-09 [7] Der Spiegel Online, “Dopingexperte fordert Jones-Sperre”, 2006-09-08 [8] Kelli White testimony, given at a Full Committee Hearing: S. 529/USADA, 2005-05-24 [9] San Francisco Chronicle, “Montgomery banned two years for doping”, 2005-12-14

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