Skater 'took part in plot to attack rival': Tonya Harding heads for a fall as former husband becomes her accuser in Oregon court

TONYA HARDING approved the attack on her rival US figure- skater Nancy Kerrigan with one simple command, 'Okay, let's do it', according to a lengthy statement made by one of the conspirators to FBI investigators.

Jeff Gillooly, her former husband, also told detectives that she personally obtained the name of the rink where Ms Kerrigan practised, called the arena to determine her schedule, and supplied plotters with a magazine which contained her rival's photograph.

In a 60-page statement to the FBI, released by prosecutors last night, Mr Gillooly also alleged that Ms Harding became upset when the planned attack had not taken place by New Year's Eve, complained that no one seemed able to carry it out, and demanded the return of dollars 2,000 ( pounds 1,300) paid to conspirators. He claimed that his ex-wife, with whom he was reconciled at the time of the attack, suggested that Nancy Kerrigan should be assaulted in a bar because it would make her 'look bad'.

His damning accusations coincided with his appearance before a court in Portland, Oregon, where he pleaded guilty to racketeering charges relating to the attack. Under a plea-bargain deal, he has agreed to a two-year prison sentence and dollars 100,000 fine. According to his lawyer, Ronald Hoevet, he confessed to playing a part in the plot against Ms Kerrigan after discovering that Ms Harding had broken a promise not to tell federal investigators about his involvement.

In a bizarre incident that has scandalised the international sporting world, Nancy Kerrigan was clubbed on the right leg by a man wielding a police-issue baton after a practice session for the US women's figure skating championships in Detroit last month. She suffered bruises above the knee, from which she is now recovering.

In his FBI statement, Mr Gillooly also accused Tonya Harding of personally obtaining her rival's hotel room number and practice schedule in Detroit, which he passed on to Shawn Eckardt, her bodyguard, who helped mastermind the assault.

The evidence against the skater was such that charges were 'inevitable' said Mr Hoevet, after his client appeared in court. 'Denial is no longer plausible. The truth about this bizarre crime has now been revealed.'

Ms Harding has repeatedly insisted that she knew nothing about the attack beforehand, although she has admitted withholding information from the authorities after finding out that members of her entourage were involved. Her laywers issued a statement dismissing the allegations by Mr Gillooly, with whom she has had a stormy relationship for several years, describing them as 'further evidence of his abusive conduct towards her'.

Meanwhile, a five-member committee of the US Figure Skating Association was due to meet in Colorado yesterday for discussions over whether Ms Harding should be disqualified from the Olympics figure skating contest. At present both skaters are on the team roster, but if Ms Harding is banned her place will go to Michelle Kwan, 13, from California.

(Photograph omitted)

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
Books should be for everyone, says Els, 8. Publisher Scholastic now agrees
booksAn eight-year-old saw a pirate book was ‘for boys’ and took on the publishers
Life and Style
Mary Beard received abuse after speaking positively on 'Question Time' about immigrant workers: 'When people say ridiculous, untrue and hurtful things, then I think you should call them out'
tech
Life and Style
Most mail-order brides are thought to come from Thailand, the Philippines and Romania
life
News
i100
Life and Style
tech
Voices
Margaret Thatcher, with her director of publicity Sir Gordon Reece, who helped her and the Tory Party to victory in 1979
voicesThe subject is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for former PR man DJ Taylor
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Installation and Service / Security Engineer

£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...

Recruitment Genius: Service Charge Accounts Assistant

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...

Cancer Research UK: Corporate Partnerships Volunteer Events Coordinator – London

Voluntary: Cancer Research UK: We’re looking for someone to support our award ...

Ashdown Group: Head of IT - Hertfordshire - £90,000

£70000 - £90000 per annum + bonus + car allowance + benefits: Ashdown Group: H...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions