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  'She Believed That ... She Could Not Win'

Associated Press
Wednesday, February 2, 1994; Page A9




Excerpts from news conference by Ronald H. Hoevet, attorney for Jeff Gillooly, yesterday in Portland, Ore.

On Motive for Attacking Nancy Kerrigan
The motive was clear to them [Gillooly and Tonya Harding] in about the middle of December of last year. Tonya had skated well in Japan but in her technical program she had finished seventh, which resulted in a total finish of fourth. She believed it was politics, not her skating ability, that resulted in that finish in Japan.

In addition, it was clear to both Jeff and Tonya that Nancy Kerrigan was being featured by the promotions leading up to the United States women's figure skating championships [the Olympic trials] -- featured as the inevitable winner. This crime was born of the bitterness that those facts and beliefs created in the mind of Jeff and in the mind of Tonya.

She believed that no matter how well she skated, and this is according to Jeff, that she could not win the U.S. women's figure skating championship and that the deck was stacked against her.

On Harding's Denial of Any Participation in the Plot
Well, my reaction is that Tonya has made a series of what I call retreating admissions. The last statement that she made is untrue. The last statement is that her sin is that she found out about this event and did nothing to come forward. Well we know ... she actively participated in the coverup. So putting aside the question of whether she was an original member of the plot to assault Nancy Kerrigan, she has now told an untruth about what actually happened because we know she was an active participant in the coverup.

On Why Gillooly Implicated Harding
Jeff was prepared to fall on the sword for Tonya. Even after he learned, and it took a little while for him to understand this, even after he learned that Tonya had given him up [last] Tuesday night and had implicated him in the crime in order to save herself, he was still prepared to take the blame. But she lied to him about what she'd done. She continued as they met clandestinely in the evening, as they talked on the telephone, shedenied that she had implicated him.

It was not until I asked Norm Frink from the Multnomah County district attorney's office and Jim Russell from the FBI to come to my office with the 46 pages of notes that Jeff finally realized that, in fact, she had been lying to him. ... He understood that no matter what happened, it was impossible for them to ever get back together.

On How Harding Gave Approval for the Attack
As I understand the quote, it's "Okay, let's go for it," or "Okay, let's do it." The agreement was reached as they drove from the conspiratorial meeting at [bodyguard] Shawn Eckardt's house on December 28 toward their home, in which a discussion was made of the pros and cons of doing this.

On Gillooly's Motives for Pleading Guilty
I think that Jeff is really sorry for what happened. And there are a couple of other things. He wants to make sure that the truth comes out. And most importantly that the truth comes out in time for the Olympic Committee and the U.S. Figure Skating Association to give Tonya the due process she deserves. At least notice and an opportunity to be heard, and then they can see these facts and listen to them and deny her a place on the Olympic team.

She should be denied a spot on the team because she engaged from the beginning in a conspiracy to assault Nancy Kerrigan, number one. And number two, she actively engaged in the coverup. Now the question is, how do we give her due process? The answer has got to be found by the Olympic Committee and the U.S. Figure Skating Association before the Olympic Games. We give her a hearing. The evidence is presented. We give her an opportunity to respond. And the Olympic Committee can then make a decision as to whether she should skate.

Ladies and gentleman, it would be unconscionable if Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan were on the same Olympic team in Lillehammer, Norway. I mean, this country, if we can't figure out a way to give Tonya due process between now and then, is morally bankrupt.

© Copyright 1994 The Washington Post Company

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