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Prosecutors unveil details in Oly case

Information comes in response to U.S. magistrate’s order

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Federal prosecutors in the Olympic bribery case have provided just a little more information about their case against former Olympic bid leaders Tom Welch and Dave Johnson.

Welch and Johnson — the only officials currently facing federal prosecution — have been charged with 15 counts of conspiracy and fraud in connection with their efforts to bring the 2002 Winter Games to Salt Lake City. They are accused of distributing roughly $1 million in gifts, scholarships and cash to members of the International Olympic Committee and their families.

Three weeks ago, U.S. Magistrate Ronald Boyce ordered the Justice Department to clarify how a commercial bribery statute would be applied in this case.

Boyce, the federal judge overseeing the trial's early phases, ruled that prosecutors had already given the defense almost all the information they need to prepare for trial. But he asked prosectors to provide "the names of the agents, fiduciaries and principals who were involved in the violation of the (commercial bribery statute)."

In a letter the prosecution gave to the defense on Dec. 18 and just recently made part of the court record, federal attorneys Richard Wiedis and John Scott reiterated Utah and Colorado bribery statutes, then said Welch and Johnson violated those laws "when they arranged to covertly hire and make payments to Alfredo La Mont, in violation of his duty of fidelity to his employer, the United States Olympic Committee."

La Mont, no longer with the USOC, is the only "agent, fiduciary or principal" named in the letter, and prosecutors said the details of that charge are already in the indictment.

La Mont pleaded guilty last year to tax fraud for failing to report secret consulting payments made to him by Olympic organizers.

The Salt Lake Olympic Bid Committee didn't report the payments either, and prosecutors said in their letter they may introduce IRS forms used by tax-exempt organizations like the bid committee to "contend that they do not properly reflect the illicit payments described in the indictment."

At a hearing next week, Boyce will hear oral arguments for all of the pending motions in the case, including motions by Welch and Johnson to dismiss the indictment.

E-mail: mtitze@desnews.com