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Jones' lawyers: Don't imprison her

  • Story Highlights
  • Guilty plea "a very painful and life-changing experience" for Jones, memo says
  • Attorneys: Jones has lost her livelihood, as professional track was her career
  • Jones told court in October that her then-coach gave her steroids in 1999

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NEW YORK (CNN) -- Marion Jones should not be sentenced to prison, her defense attorneys said, in a memorandum ahead of her sentencing on January 11.


Marion Jones wipes her eyes while leaving a U.S. district court in October.

They cited her history of being a law-abiding citizen and noted that Jones has lost her livelihood, as "professional track and field is the only career Marion has ever known."

Jones could face up to six months in prison, according to the memorandum, which was filed on December 31 in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Jones was stripped of her Olympic medals after pleading guilty in October to charges of lying to a federal agent in November 2003 about her use of steroids and of engaging in check fraud.

"The guilty plea in this matter and the circumstances surrounding it have been a very painful and life-changing experience for Marion Jones-Thompson," the memorandum said.

"She has been cast from American hero to national disgrace. This part of her story will forever be one of personal tragedy. To be clear, the public scorn, from a nation that once adored her, and her fall from grace have been severe punishments.

"She has suffered enormous personal shame, anguish and embarrassment. She has been stripped of her gold medals, her accomplishments, her wealth and her public standing."

"Any deterrent message to the public has already been sent," the motion said.

In October, Jones admitted that her then-coach, Trevor Graham, first gave her steroids in 1999, telling her it was flaxseed oil. She said she took the steroid known as "the clear," or THG, from that time until 2001, including during her competition at the 2000 Summer Olympic Games in Sydney.

Her admission contradicted years of public and often-angry denials regarding any usage of steroids.

In 2004 Jones filed a $25 million defamation lawsuit against Victor Conte, accusing the founder of Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (BALCO), THG's marketer, of trying to "destroy her career and reputation" when he said he supplied her with performance-enhancing drugs.

The lawsuit was settled out of court for an undisclosed amount, and Conte in 2005 pleaded guilty to conspiracy and money laundering. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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