Most of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency's allegations against 100-meter world record holder Tim Montgomery come from the files of indicted Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (BALCO) owner Victor Conte, with whom Montgomery had a bitter falling out several years ago and who had "incentive to seek to ruin Tim's career and reputation," Montgomery's attorney, Cristina Arguedas, said in a lengthy statement yesterday.
In her first public comments about the potential charges facing Montgomery, Arguedas called the agency's allegations in a June 7 notification letter "unfounded" and challenged the validity of two calendars the agency represented as depicting a schedule of Montgomery's alleged drug use; referenced an e-mail in which Conte was critical of Montgomery; and raised an objection to USADA's apparent intention of calling unnamed witnesses to testify against him in arbitration.
USADA Director of Legal Affairs Travis T. Tygart could not immediately be reached to comment, but it has been the agency's policy not to comment on the specifics of any cases.
USADA's "evidence is largely unrelated to Tim, is lacking in any foundation, is inconsistent, and is inaccurate," Arguedas said in the statement, released on the day Montgomery's response to the agency's Anti-Doping Review Board was due. "Under any standard, the evidence is insufficient. . . . Tim Montgomery has done nothing wrong, and we intend to vigorously fight any attempt by USADA or any other sports organization to deny him the opportunity to fulfill his dreams and participate in the 2004 Olympics. "
Montgomery and fellow U.S. track stars Chryste Gaines, Michelle Collins and Alvin Harrison will find out in the coming days whether USADA will formally charge them with drug violations, which would endanger their hopes of competing in the Summer Games in Athens. The Anti-Doping Review Board, a panel of legal, medical and technical experts appointed by USADA CEO Terry Madden, will advise the agency on whether it should proceed.
Montgomery, who set the 100 world record of 9.78 seconds in September 2001, is the father of an infant son with fellow sprinter Marion Jones, whom USADA is investigating but hasn't notified of potential charges. In other news, Jones learned yesterday that Senate Commerce Committee Chair John McCain denied her request for a public hearing, referring her matter to the standard channels of USADA.
In her statement, Arguedas quoted from an alleged e-mail from Conte dated July 2002 -- which she said was after Montgomery and Conte had split and two months before Montgomery achieved the world record -- as evidence that Conte held a grudge against Montgomery and had a motive to attempt to ruin his career.
"It is time for Tim to start to cry like a baby," the e-mail said, according to Arguedas's statement. "What a dumb [expletive] he is. He could have had the world record and been making a ton of money."
Arguedas also referenced two calendars from 2001 she said USADA provided as evidence, and specifically described a calendar from July 2001. She said it was labeled with the initials "TM" but referenced meets in which Montgomery did not compete and times that were not his. She provided no other information about the calendar.
"At best, [the calendars] are evidence that some other individual, perhaps Conte himself, desired that Tim take certain substances on certain days," Arguedas said, concluding that the alleged inconsistencies called "into doubt the reliability of any of the records found in Conte's file."
The bulk of USADA's evidence, including the calendars, were obtained in a federal raid of BALCO last fall.
Arguedas also took exception to what she said was a request by USADA for Montgomery to respond to testimony from unidentified witnesses.
"This evidence could come from individuals under indictment, athletes who themselves have admitted to the use of banned substances, disgruntled coaches, jealous rival competitors, or a host of others with axes to grind," Arguedas said. "Without the ability to assess the credibility of any specific witnesses, understand what they will testify to, and cross-examine them, we consider any reliance on this alleged testimony to be grossly inappropriate and unfair."
Montgomery was among more than two dozen athletes Conte claimed to have given steroids, according to two Bay Area newspapers who quoted from a federal investigator's memo. Montgomery also was the subject of a story in the San Jose Mercury News in which the newspaper reported that he received the designer steroid THG from Conte as part of a strength, nutrition and training regimen dubbed Project World Record.
However, Arguedas said USADA possessed no evidence that Montgomery had admitted to wrongdoing.
"Given the seriousness of these allegations and consequences of USADA's actions, USADA should come forward with irrefutable evidence if it is attempting to suspend an athlete who has never failed a urine test," Arguedas said.