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THE INSIDE TRACK | Newswire

Evidence Shows Salt Lake Bid Leaders in Bad Light

March 23, 2001|From Staff and Wire Reports

Olympic scandal files released Thursday by the Utah attorney general's office appear to cut both ways for the indicted bid leaders who won the 2002 Winter Games.

Some testimony supports Tom Welch and Dave Johnson's claim that they didn't try to hide scholarship payments to relatives of International Olympic Committee delegates.

Some of the bid committee's most prominent trustees, despite their public disavowals, knew about the scholarship program, according to an investigator's notes and transcripts of interviews with bid-committee insiders.

But the investigative files also contain some incriminating evidence and unflattering portraits of the bid leaders. They face a trial in June on federal charges of masterminding a bribery conspiracy to win the Winter Olympics for Salt Lake City.

One new piece of information details a $5,785 check made out by a travel agency to Welch that could figure in the trial. Welch cashed the check from Uniglobe Travel of Salt Lake City. Defense lawyers say it was reimbursement, but federal prosecutors say they are prepared to argue it was a payoff.

The state files also name two female escorts, renewing allegations that IOC visitors were given access to prostitutes. But federal prosecutors didn't consider the escorts credible witnesses and didn't allege that prostitutes were used for payoffs.

The attorney general never completed its investigation into the Olympic vote-buying scandal. The state probe was overtaken by last summer's federal indictment of Welch and Johnson.

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Baylor baseball Coach Steve Smith indefinitely suspended pitcher Derek Brehm and outfielder Clint Bowers, who are charged with shooting, decapitating and skinning a stray cat. Brehm and Bowers were arrested March 9 on animal cruelty charges after police found the head of a skinned cat in the back of Bowers' vehicle.

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Former Miami Dolphin wide receiver Mark Ingram plans to plead guilty to a counterfeit cash charge because he faces a longer sentence for violating probation, his attorney said in Miami. Ingram was sent to jail last week for violating probation on a Broward County grand theft case by getting arrested five days after sentencing while carrying the fake cash in a stolen sports-utility vehicle. The state dropped the vehicle theft charge.

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Barry Myers, an associate professor of biomedical engineering at Duke, was chosen to review the autopsy photos of NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt for the Orlando Sentinel. Also, the Florida house overwhelmingly passed a bill to block public access to autopsy photos.

Football

The St. Louis Rams made their first big move into the 2001 free-agent market, signing former Baltimore Raven safety Kim Herring to a five-year contract. The Rams also released safety Keith Lyle, member of the 2000 Super Bowl championship team who has spent his entire seven-year NFL career with the team. He was the last of the Los Angeles Rams, accompanying the team on its 1995 move to St. Louis.

The Denver Broncos signed free-agent defensive tackle Leon Lett to a reported four-year, $9-million contract, according to ESPN. The deal includes a reported $1-million signing bonus. Lett spent 10 seasons with the Dallas Cowboys.

The New York Jets signed linebacker James Darling, who had been with Philadelphia. . . . San Francisco signed linebacker Derek Smith, who spent his first four years with Washington. . . . New England signed unrestricted free-agent defensive end Anthony Pleasant and cornerback Terrance Shaw.

Miscellany

Greg Rusedski of Britain won 25 consecutive points, including the first 20 in the second set, and beat Nicolas Massu of Chile, 6-4, 6-1, in the first round of the Ericsson Open at Key Biscayne, Fla. Rusedski led 5-0 in the second set and came within four points of a golden set, which means winning all 24 points. The feat has been achieved only once on the men's tour, by Bill Scanlon in 1983.

Nate Dusing set a record in the 200-yard individual medley and helped defending champion Texas take the lead in the NCAA swimming and diving championships. Troy Dumais of Texas won the 1-meter springboard diving competition for the second consecutive year and will try to defend his 3-meter title Saturday. USC freshman Klete Keller won the 500-yard freestyle in 4:14.67; Teammate Erik Vendt was third (4:16.13) behind Chris Thompson of Michigan (4:14.71). Stanford senior Anthony Robinson won his first title by defeating Olympic gold medalist and Cal sophomore Anthony Ervin in the 50-yard freestyle (19.15 to 19.23).

Ford and Dodge crews will be able to make slight adjustments on their cars at Talladega Superspeedway next month under modifications announced by NASCAR.

Cleanup has begun on a toxic-waste spill on an abandoned American military base near the planned 2004 Olympic rowing center in Athens. . . . Jerry Smith, longtime women's soccer coach at Santa Clara University, will coach the U.S. under-21 women's national team.

Kyle Martino scored six minutes into the second half at Tunapuna, Trinidad, giving the United States a 1-1 soccer tie with Costa Rica in the Americans' final qualifier for the FIFA World Youth Championship.

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