Ice-skater's former husband gives himself up

PORTLAND (Reuter) - The former husband of champion figure skater Tonya Harding turned himself in after a judge ordered his arrest on charges of plotting an assault on her rival, Nancy Kerrigan.

A grim-faced Jeff Gillooly turned himself in to the FBI in Portland and was expected to be formally charged in court. No charges were levied against Ms Harding, but an affidavit accompanying Mr Gillooly's arrest warrant cited statements made by an alleged accomplice of his, saying that Ms Harding made calls to find out Ms Kerrigan's work schedule before the attack. Both Mr Gillooly and Ms Harding insist they are innocent.

Judge Donald Londer issued a warrant for Mr Gillooly's arrest on a charge of conspiracy to commit assault, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in jail. He is accused of plotting to 'unlawfully and intentionally cause physical injury to Nancy Kerrigan by means of a dangerous weapon,' a court document said.

Ms Harding's bodyguard, Shawn Eckardt, and two alleged accomplices, Derrick Smith and Shane Stant, have already been charged. Officials say all three have confessed and implicated Mr Gillooly in the scheme. Ms Harding met FBI agents, sheriff's deputies and prosecutors for more than 10 hours on Tuesday. During the meeting, Ms Harding announced that she was separating from Ms Gillooly.

An assailant hit Ms Kerrigan on the leg with a metal baton after practice for the national championships in Detroit on 6 January. She collapsed, crying in pain, but has since returned to the rink and is recovering.

With Ms Kerrigan out, Ms Harding won the championship. She and Ms Kerrigan were chosen to skate for the United States at next month's winter Olympics in Norway, but the scandal has put a question mark over Ms Harding's participation.

An affidavit said Mr Eckardt told investigators that he, Mr Gillooly, Mr Smith and Mr Stant met on 27 December, 1993 and discussed the plan to injure Ms Kerrigan. 'It was agreed that Smith and Stant would injure Kerrigan in return for dollars 6,500 ( pounds 4,300) to be paid by Gillooly,' the affidavit said.

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