YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Harding Involved in Kerrigan Plot, Indictment Says


If figure skater Tonya Harding had not pleaded guilty to a lesser charge last week, she would have been indicted in the plot to injure rival Nancy Kerrigan, a grand jury said Monday.

Three men allegedly involved in the Jan. 6 attack during the U.S. figure skating championships--Shawn Eckardt, Shane Stant and Derrick Smith--were indicted on charges of racketeering, conspiracy to commit assault, assault and unlawfully obtaining communications.

After a two-month investigation, the Multnomah County, Ore., grand jury concluded that the three men agreed with each other, Harding and her former husband, Jeff Gillooly, to "unlawfully, intentionally and knowingly cause physical injury to Nancy Kerrigan by means of a dangerous weapon."

Although grand jury foreman David Holt said that he could not discuss specific evidence reviewed, he told the Associated Press that he agreed with Norman Frink, Multnomah County deputy district attorney, that there was enough evidence to indict Harding.

"Like Mr. Frink said, there was a great deal of evidence pointing toward the fact that she was involved from the beginning or very close to the beginning," he said. "I think she would have been indicted on all counts.

"I believe she was so close to a lot of things that were going on that there's no way she could not have known."

In a plea bargain agreement with Frink's office, Harding pleaded guilty last Wednesday to a charge of hindering prosecution. She was sentenced to three years' probation, fined $100,000, required to pay an additional $50,000 to the Special Olympics and $10,000 in court costs and forced to resign from the U.S. Figure Skating Assn. She had been scheduled to begin competition last Sunday in the World Championships in Chiba, Japan.

Gillooly pleaded guilty on Feb. 1 to one charge of racketeering. Prosecutors said they will recommend a two-year prison sentence and a $100,000 fine.

Harding's lawyers responded to the grand jury's report Monday in a statement that said: "Tonya Harding had hoped that it would not be necessary to further respond to false accusations about her. The decision of the Multnomah County district attorney to inaccurately depict Ms. Harding as having been somehow involved with Shawn Eckardt and the other defendants indicted today was unnecessary and unfortunate. . . . She categorically denies prior knowledge of, or participation in, the assault on Nancy Kerrigan."

According to the Associated Press, Stant, the alleged hit man, and Smith, the alleged getaway driver, have established a "900 number" on which they discuss the case, including Harding's involvement. They also plan to sell police baton key rings and T-shirts that read, "Save a skater, club a Gillooly."

Los Angeles Times Articles