Former US Olympic cyclist Tammy Thomas will fight perjury charges starting Monday in the first trial to stem from the BALCO steroid scandal that has rocked athletics and baseball.
US District Court prosecutors have issued five perjury charges against Thomas for lying in October of 2003 to a federal grand jury looking into the BALCO steroid scandal by saying she did not use performance-enhancing drugs.
Thomas, who was indicted in 2006, has pleaded innocent.
Her situation is similar to that of Barry Bonds, US baseball’s all-time home run king who is accused of lying to the same BALCO grand jury when saying he did not take performance-enhancing drugs.
Bonds has pleaded innocent and on Friday had the next action in his case postponed to June so prosecutors could rewrite a more detailed indictment at the instruction of Judge Susan Illston, who is handling both Bonds’ and Thomas’ cases and could issue a similar order to prosecutors in the cyclist’s case.
Bonds’ legal team is expected to carefully watch the Thomas trial to see what issues might arise when their case comes before the judge, something not expected until after the end of the Major League Baseball season in October.
Seven people charged in the BALCO scandal have pleaded guilty of lying to federal authorities or steroid distribution, including BALCO founder Victor Conte, chemist Patrick Arnold and former Bonds trainer Greg Anderson.
Disgraced former athletics star Marion Jones, stripped of the three gold and two bronze medals she won at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, began serving a prison sentence two weeks ago for lying to authorities about doping and her role in a check fraud scheme.
Thomas was banned in 2002 after testing positive for a steroid. Jeff Novitzky, the top federal investigator in the BALCO case, is expected to appear as a witness in the Thomas case.
Arnold is also expected to testify and his girlfriend is expected to say she spoke with Thomas about steroids several times.
Arnold helped develop THG, a once-undetectable steroid Conte distributed in forms known as “the clear” and “the cream.”