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Jones hopes to avoid prison

The Baltimore Sun

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- Former Olympic champion sprinter Marion Jones said she has been punished enough and should not have to go to prison for lying about steroids and check fraud.

In court papers filed Monday, Jones' attorneys asked a federal judge to give her probation when he sentences her next week.

"She has been cast from American hero to national disgrace," the memo said. "The public scorn, from a nation that once adored her, and her fall from grace have been severe punishments."

Jones admitted in court in October that she lied to federal investigators. Outside court, the former track and field star announced her retirement and said through tears: "It's with a great amount of shame that I stand before you and tell you that I have betrayed your trust."

She has relinquished her five Olympic medals.

As part of the plea agreement, prosecutors suggested she be sentenced to six months in prison at most. In pre-sentencing papers filed Dec. 21, prosecutors said anything between no time and six months would be appropriate.

That filing included a doping calendar from the files of the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative indicating Jones used several performance-enhancing drugs. Prosecutors said the evidence shows "a concentrated, organized, long-term effort to use these substances for her personal gain."

They said her false statements "derailed the government's investigative efforts."

In the check fraud scheme, Jones admitted lying about her knowledge of the involvement of track star Tim Montgomery, the father of her older son, in a scheme to cash millions of dollars worth of stolen or forged checks.

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