“Marion Jones Sues BALCO Founder, Challenges Him to Polygraph”

Associated Press legal affairs writer David Kravets reports in this article published by the San Francisco Chronicle. Excerpt:

Olympic track star Marion Jones has filed a defamation lawsuit against Victor Conte and challenged the BALCO head to take a lie detector test regarding his accusations that she used performance-enhancing drugs.

Jones is seeking $25 million in the suit filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, alleging Conte tarnished her reputation when he made the statement broadcast Dec. 3 on ABC’s “20/20.”

Conte and three others connected to the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative were indicted in February by a federal grand jury for a variety of alleged offenses, including illegally distributing steroids.

The suit said Jones passed a lie detector test and includes a statement from her doctor saying she never used steroids. Jones won three gold medals and two bronzes during the 2000 Olympics.

Conte’s statements, the suit said, “are false and malicious.”

In an e-mail to The Associated Press, Conte said the lawsuit was “nothing more than a PR stunt by a desperate woman, who has regularly used drugs throughout her career. I look forward with all confidence to the court proceedings as I stand by everything I said on the ’20/20′ special.”

Jones’ attorneys offered Thursday to pay for Conte to take a lie-detector test and wants three questions asked of him:

* Did he observe Jones injecting herself with performance enhancing drugs on April 21, 2001, as he stated on national television?

* Has he ever leaked any grand jury testimony or other evidence related to the BALCO investigation?

* Has he ever observed Marion Jones illegally taking any performance-enhancing drugs?

A former FBI polygraph examiner said he tested Jones on June 16 about whether she ever used performance-enhancing drugs or was lying about “any personal use of performance-enhancing drugs.”

“It is my opinion that these responses are not indicative of deception,” former agent Ronald Homer wrote in the lawsuit.

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