Graham asked for drugs for Jones

May 21, 2008 1:20:25 PM PDT
An admitted sports drug dealer testified in federal court in San Francisco today he gave steroids and other drugs to several champion runners, including disgraced Olympic medalist Marion Jones, at the behest of track coach Trevor Graham.

Angel Heredia is the chief prosecution witness in the false statements trial of Graham, 44, of Raleigh, N.C.

Heredia said Graham told him by telephone before the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia, that he "wanted Jones on the program." Heredia said he gave Jones human growth hormone and another hormone called EPO at Graham's request.

Graham is not criminally charged with distributing the drugs, but rather with three counts of lying in 2004 to investigators in a case that began as a probe of the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative, or BALCO.

One of the alleged false statements was that he never set up his athletes with drugs from Heredia.

Heredia contradicted that statement in testimony today and Tuesday in which he alleged Graham referred a series of star athletes to him, including Jones, Antonio Pettigrew, Jerome Young and Garfield Ellenwood.

Graham's defense attorney, William Keane, told jurors at the start of the trial that Graham spoke truthfully in that statement. Keane alleged that Heredia is an unreliable witness and that athletes who will testify against Graham are seeking to use him as a "convenient scapegoat" for their drug use.

Keane will cross-examine Heredia later today.

The trial in the court of U.S. District Judge Susan Illston began this week and is expected to continue through next week.

Keane has also claimed the alleged false statements weren't relevant to the BALCO investigation and therefore were not crimes.

But the chief investigator in the case, Jeff Novitzky, testified on Tuesday that Graham's statements "absolutely" slowed up a perjury investigation of Jones.

Jones eventually pleaded guilty to lying to investigators about her use of performance-enhancing drugs allegedly obtained from Graham. She was sentenced to six months in jail and forced to give up the three gold and two bronze medals she won in Sydney in 2000.


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