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HARDING CONFIDENT AS GRAND JURY’S DECISION LOOMS

SHARE HARDING CONFIDENT AS GRAND JURY’S DECISION LOOMS

The ice rink is Tonya Harding's only refuge, a pure white world of peace where she escapes, all too briefly, the unending questions and accusations that threaten to destroy her.

There on the ice, Harding launches triple axel jumps and lands ever so gracefully, smiling, laughing, enjoying the freedom like a bird uncaged.In a room just a few miles away, a grand jury is hearing testimony to decide whether to indict her in the attack on Olympic rival Nancy Kerrigan.

Is Harding scared?

No, she says, she's confident.

Harding betrays barely a trace of anxiety over the allegations that she encouraged and helped plot the assault on Kerrigan at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Detroit two weeks ago.

A crowd of more than 100 fans, cheering, whistling and shouting "Go Tonya," watched Harding skate brilliantly at a shopping mall rink for an hour while prosecutors from Portland and Detroit met with attorneys for two of the four men arrested in the case.

At the same time, Detroit detectives spoke with the FBI to review its investigation. No federal charges will be filed in the case, FBI spokesman Bart Gori said.

A Multnomah County grand jury heard testimony from Harding's father, Al Harding; her coach, Diane Rawlinson; private investigator Gary Crowe; minister Eugene Saunders and other witnesses.

No indictments will be issued this week, chief deputy district attorney Norm Frink said.

Three of the four people arrested - bodyguard Shawn Eckardt, alleged hit man Shane Minoaka Stant and alleged getaway car driver Derrick Smith - are negotiating with prosecutors about plea bargains in exchange for their cooperation, a source close to the case told The Associated Press.

Jeff Gillooly, Harding's ex-husband, isn't trying to cut a deal by testifying against her, the source said.

Prosecutors and police from Detroit returned home after completing their meetings with the FBI and Portland investigators. Asked whether anything pointed to Harding's involvement, Wayne County prosecutor John O'Hair said: "It would be terribly unfair to make any premature judgments on that."

In Colorado Springs, Colo., the U.S. Figure Skating Association backed off plans to vote on whether to keep Harding on the team.

The Amateur Sports Act of 1978, the federal law governing the USOC and its member federations, states that any sports body trying to oust a team member must "provide for notice and an opportunity for a hearing before declaring such individual ineligible to participate."

"We are trying to double-check all our actions in terms of the act," said Kristin Matta, a USFSA spokeswoman. "The vote is not a done deal. A vote is not scheduled."

Harding held her first public workout since winning the U.S. title in Detroit.

"I felt better today than I have in a few days. I'm sleeping better," she said.

She insisted she has no intention of quitting the Olympic team, though the investigation and tension are hurting her preparation "a lot" for the Winter Games in Norway next month.

"My skating is my life," she said. "I go out there and it's an out for me. I love it. That'sthe only time I'm getting any enjoyment right now. I have bad days where I can't think and concentrate. I hope it can get back to normal soon. I went out there and I landed every single one of my jumps."

Harding refused to respond to the latest allegations made by her bodyguard, Eckardt, whose testimony provided the basis for the warrant and arrest of Gillooly.

Eckardt, whose credibility has been assailed by numerous acquaintances, expanded his story Thursday night in an interview with ABC News Primetime Live, saying it was Gillooly's idea to injure Kerrigan's landing leg and that Gillooly was "pretty pleased with himself" after the attack.