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  Gillooly Reportedly Links Harding to Attack

By Stephen Buckley
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, January 31, 1994; Page A1




PORTLAND, Ore., Jan. 30 — Jeff Gillooly, Tonya Harding's ex-husband, has told his family that he has implicated Harding in the attack against figure skater Nancy Kerrigan after learning that Harding had told FBI agents of his role in planning the assault.

John Gillooly, one of Jeff's brothers, told The Washington Post this morning that Jeff Gillooly turned on Harding because "basically he felt that whatever she did to him, he was going to do to her. That's the crux of it right there."

Ronald H. Hoevet, Jeff Gillooly's attorney, could not be reached for comment. But in an interview Saturday with the Oregonian, he articulated the scenario depicted by John Gillooly.

Hoevet told the Portland newspaper that Jeff Gillooly, 26, turned on Harding, 23, after FBI agents showed him a 46-page account of Harding's 10½-hour interrogation by investigators on Jan. 18.

"That finally convinced Jeff that Tonya had implicated him," Hoevet told the Oregonian. "Jeff would have fallen on his sword for Tonya if Tonya had told him the truth." Neither Harding nor her attorneys could be reached today.

As anticipated, officials of the U.S. Figure Skating Association certified Harding as one of 22 members of the 1994 Olympic team, a formality that had been expected since last week.

The U.S. Olympic Committee will forward the names to the Lillehammer Olympic Organizing Committee Monday "as a matter of procedure," according to a statement Thursday from Executive Director Harvey Schiller.

Four women's skaters are on the roster: Harding, Kerrigan and alternates Michelle Kwan and Nicole Bobek.

Under normal circumstances, now that the USFSA has given its roster to the USOC, the USOC — and not the USFSA — would have control of Harding's status on the Olympic team. But because it has named a five-member hearing panel to investigate allegations about Harding's involvement in the attack on Kerrigan, the USFSA retains considerable control over Harding's fate.

The panel has set a Feb. 10 deadline for its report on Harding, two days before the Winter Olympics begin in Norway. The panel is to answer to USFSA President Claire Ferguson, who can act on the information and/or forward it to Schiller and other key members of the USOC. The USOC's decision on Harding is expected on Feb. 10 or soon thereafter.

While Harding's future on the Olympic team is still uncertain, so is Gillooly's future. Speaking through the screen door of his parents' home, John Gillooly, 34, said that his brother spent about two hours testifying before a grand jury Saturday afternoon.

John Gillooly said that his brother was spending the weekend formulating a statement that he will read at a news conference on Monday or Tuesday. John Gillooly said he has had little direct contact with his brother since his arrest, and has been kept informed by other family members.

Jeff Gillooly, one of four defendants arrested in connection with the assault on Kerrigan, will reportedly plead guilty to one count of racketeering on Monday or Tuesday in connection with the attack.

Gillooly, who was arrested the day after Harding was questioned by FBI agents, is expected to receive a two-year sentence and a $10,000 fine, sources have told the Oregonian.

John Gillooly said he did not know which day his brother would enter a plea. Jeff Gillooly must be officially indicted by the grand jury before he can enter a formal plea.

Jeff Gillooly went through some 16 hours of questioning last week, during which he told investigators that Harding approved of the plan to club Kerrigan on her right knee at the U.S. Olympic trials in Detroit.

On Thursday, Harding read a statement saying she had learned of the conspiracy to attack Kerrigan within a week after it occurred, but hadn't shared the information with authorities.

John Gillooly, a furnace installer, said that Jeff Gillooly "wasn't surprised" by Harding's admission.

His brother shrugged off Harding's statement as an attempt "to minimize damage to herself," John Gillooly said.

John Gillooly said that since his brother talked to investigators on Wednesday and Thursday, "he has been much more upbeat. He's come to grips with reality. Now that he knows all the possibilities, the best that can happen and the worst, he's really able to deal with it."

John Gillooly said that his brother's arrest "has been a strain on the family, definitely. But we're behind Jeff 100 percent."

Meanwhile, the Associated Press reported today that Portland police were called to the home of Shawn Eckardt Saturday night after Jeff Gillooly showed up and started pounding on the door. Eckardt, Harding's former bodyguard, has been charged in connection with the plot to injure Kerrigan. He was the first of the four men arrested.

By the time officers arrived at Eckardt's home, Gillooly had left. But a policeman on patrol a short time later saw Gillooly sitting in his pickup truck outside Eckardt's residence.

Eckardt told police his attorney had advised him to stay away from Gillooly. Gillooly told police he only wanted Eckardt to remove a vehicle from his property. Police said the patrol officer told Gillooly he would be charged with trespassing if he didn't leave and Gillooly drove away without incident.

Staff writer Christine Brennan in Washington contributed to this report.

© Copyright 1994 The Washington Post Company

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