Salt Lake pair indicted

The two high-ranking officials who have been indicted in the Salt Lake City bribery scandal surrounding the successful bid for the 2002 Winter Games, protested their innocence on Thursday night and claimed they were being treated like common criminals.

The two high-ranking officials who have been indicted in the Salt Lake City bribery scandal surrounding the successful bid for the 2002 Winter Games, protested their innocence on Thursday night and claimed they were being treated like common criminals.

Tom Welch and Dave Johnson, who have been charged for allegedly trying to influence the votes of the International Olympic Committee by plying members with £685,000 in cash and other inducements gave their reaction to the charges.

"The idea that we defrauded the bid committee or anybody else is preposterous. So is the charge that we bribed anybody," Welch said in a live broadcast from Huntington Beach, California. "But that doesn't change the fact that we will be photographed and booked like common criminals."

Welch, who took no questions, said: "We will be acquitted and we will present a defence that the people of Utah will understand."

Welch, 55, who was president of Salt Lake's Olympic bid committee, and Johnson, 41, the former vice-president, were named in a 15-count felony conspiracy indictment. The US Justice Department accused the pair of drafting bogus contracts and falsifying bid committee books to conceal their activities. Prosecutors claim that the pair also diverted £89,000 for their personal use.

Johnson's attorney, Max Wheeler, disputed that, saying they used the money as part of the effort to land the Olympics for Salt Lake. Wheeler said: "What the government is doing from a moral standpoint is far worse than what Johnson and Welch ever did. It will cause irreparable harm to people in this community and the effort to put on successful Games."

A Salt Lake businessman and a former US Olympic official have already pleaded guilty in connection with the scandal, and a grand jury indicted the son of a South Korean IOC member for immigration fraud.

Welch and Johnson were considered the investigation's chief targets. Their indictment followed the collapse of plea bargain negotiations on Monday, when they rejected an offer to plead guilty to a single felony count of tax obstruction.

Wheeler said he expects the case to take at least a year. Others worry a trial could drag on as far as February 2002 and distract from the Games. "Such a trial will only rehash everything that has been said," Senator Orrin Hatch, of Utah, said.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - Junior / Mid Weight

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To support their continued grow...

Recruitment Genius: Marketing Data Specialist

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are the go-to company for ...

Recruitment Genius: Search Marketing Specialist - PPC / SEO

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join the UK's leadin...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This caravan dealership are currently recruiti...

Day In a Page

Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test
Tour de France 2015: Twins Simon and Adam Yates have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Twins have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Yates brothers will target the steepest sections in bid to win a stage in France
John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy