Witness tightens noose around ice-skater

THE AUTHORITIES are inching closer to implicating the figure skater Tonya Harding in the attack on her rival, Nancy Kerrigan, after questioning a new witness.

Jeff Gillooly, Ms Harding's former husband, may plead guilty to masterminding the plot today and is expected to say that she was involved.

Mr Gillooly is said by his brother John to have implicated Ms Harding after being confronted with a statement by her implicating him. The Oregonian newspaper said yesterday that he had expected her to stick with their original story, denying they were behind the assault.

Mr Gillooly is believed to have agreed to a plea-bargain with prosecutors under which he will plead guilty and be sentenced to two years in prison and fined dollars 100,000 ( pounds 67,000). On Friday, NBC reported that he had repeatedly told the FBI that Ms Harding knew about the plot to maim her rival.

The new witness is a hotel clerk who was working at the Westin hotel in Detroit and who says that on 6 January - the day Ms Kerrigan was struck on the leg - he received a telephone call from Ms Harding asking for Ms Kerrigan's room number. The authorities in Portland, Oregon, where Ms Harding lives, believe she gave the room number to Mr Gillooly, who at this stage wanted to make the attack in the hotel.

Even if the police cannot prove that Ms Harding conspired to make the attack, they may arrest her for aiding a cover-up. 'The cover- up would be easier to establish,' said an official. 'There is no smoking gun here.' In either case, the chances of Ms Harding staying in the US Olympic figure-skating team are looking slim.

'Miss Harding should assume responsibility for her actions and take herself out of the competition,' the Washington Post said yesterday in an editorial. But a Los Angeles Times editorial carried the headline 'Innocent until proved guilty, Harding should skate'.

In an effort to keep her place in the team. Ms Harding admitted on Thursday - and asked forgiveness for - knowing details of the assault after it had occurred and failing to pass this information on to the authorities. She may even have lied about what she knew when first questioned by the police on 18 January, changing her story when they said they knew that she was lying.

Although the skater's arrest in Portland was reported to be 'a virtual certainty' earlier in the week, the police are having difficulty in finding evidence of her involvement from witnesses other than co-conspirators. Under Oregon law, some corroborative evidence is needed other than from those involved in the plot.

As investigations continue, no television news is complete without pictures of Ms Harding at practice on the ice in Portland where 2,000 people assemble every morning to watch her train. Michelle Kwan, 13, is expected to be sent to Norway as a possible replacement for Ms Harding if the US Figure Skating Association decides to change the team.

(Photographs omitted)

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
peopleMathematician John Nash inspired the film Beautiful Mind
News
Richard Blair is concerned the trenches are falling into disrepair
newsGeorge Orwell's son wants to save war site that inspired book
Life and Style
Audrey Hepburn with Hubert De Givenchy, whose well-cut black tuxedo is a 'timeless look'
fashionIt may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
Arts and Entertainment
The pair in their heyday in 1967
music
Life and Style
fashionFrom bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
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

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine