Graham convicted in BALCO investigation

May 29, 2008 7:04:50 PM PDT
A coach who trained Olympic track stars, including sprinter Marion Jones, was convicted Thursday of perjury. It's a case stemming from the BALCO steroids investigation.

Trevor Graham was found guilty of one charge, but jurors deadlocked two others. The deadlock came when at least one juror had serious problems with the credibility of the athletes who testified and the investigators, as well. However, the government did get a conviction. Graham is the second person from the BALCO scandal to be convicted at trial. Lead cyclist Tammy Thomas was found guilty by a jury last month, also for perjury.

Jurors convicted Graham of one count of lying when he told investigators he had not talked to admitted steroids dealer Angel Heredia by phone since 1997. The first of the two deadlocked counts charged him with lying when he said he never set up his athletes with drugs from Heredia.

Graham coached track stars Marion Jones and Tim Montgomery, both of whom are now in prison on charges related to the BALCO case.

The second deadlocked count accused Graham of lying when he said he never met Heredia in person even though prosecutors showed jurors a picture of the two together over Christmas in 1996.

On those two charges, jurors deadlocked 10 to 2 and 11 to 1, both for conviction.

Juror Meg McNiece voted to convict.

"The people that couldn't agree felt that all the witnesses had an ax to grind -- to quote -- or something that made them less than believable, including all the athletes and in some cases the agents as well," said McNiece.

Juror Lisa Fahey said the two holdouts were unbending.

"We tried every reasoning possible. We were pretty civil in there, but there just -- there was no headway being made at all," said Fahey.

Prosecutors argued that Graham's statements, which they charged were lies, hindered their investigation of the BALCO steroids ring. However, his lawyer maintains they were inconsequential.

"The statements he did make were not material and important to the BALCO investigation and any of the related cases coming out of BALCO," said Graham's lawyer William Keane.

U.S. Attorney Joe Russoniello said he may re-try Graham on the two deadlocked charges.

"Given that their votes were 10 to 2 and 11 to 1 for conviction, there's a very strong probability that we'll be pressing ahead to get some resolution of those short of just an outright dismissal," said Russoniello.

The U.S. Attorney has until June 20th to decide if he'll retry Graham on those two charges. He'll be sentenced in September on the one conviction. The maximum is five years prison time, but under federal sentencing guidelines it's considerably less.

The U.S. Attorney said the outcome has no bearing on Barry Bonds who is waiting for a trial date also on perjury charges.


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