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Jones settles out of court with Conte

9 February 2006

Marion Jones Marion Jones
Marion Jones and Victor Conte have attempted to close one chapter in the Balco steroid saga that has engulfed athletics for three years by settling a defamation lawsuit brought by Jones, the former Olympic champion at 100 and 200 metres and 4 x 400 metres relay.

Jones and Conte decided against more public airing of their dirty linen. The case — the settlement terms of which have not been disclosed — promised to be messy and the stakes were high for Jones and Conte, the infamous Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative owner with an A-list sporting clientele that once included Dwain Chambers, the British sprinter.

Jones filed the $25 million lawsuit in December 2004, after Conte alleged on television that he had supplied her with banned stimulants. Conte alleged that Jones had been taking the substances when she won five medals, including three golds, at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

James Wagstaffe, Conte’s attorney, had intended to take the deposition of, among others, C. J. Hunter, Jones’s first husband, who has told investigators that Jones used banned drugs before, during and after the Sydney Olympics.

Tim Montgomery, Jones’s estranged second husband and the former 100 metres world record-holder, who was suspended for two years after being supplied banned substances by Balco, was also to have been called.

Jones’s career has nosedived and she remains under investigation by the US Anti-Doping Agency, but she has not been charged with a doping offence. Conte is serving a four-month prison term and, on scheduled release on April 1, begins four months of home confinement.

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