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Shamed U.S. track coach Graham sues WADA for $30M

Photo by Ben Margot

Photo by Ben Margot

RALEIGH, North Carolina -- Former track coach Trevor Graham is suing the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency for $30 million, saying the agency ruined his name when he was accused of providing performance-enhancing drugs to athletes.

Graham filed the federal lawsuit Tuesday in the eastern district of North Carolina. According to court documents, Graham says USADA "slandered my name for the whole world to see."

He received a lifetime coaching ban from the agency in July 2008 for his role in helping his athletes obtain performance-enhancing drugs. Graham has always denied providing performance-enhancers to his athletes, a list that once included Marion Jones, Tim Montgomery and Justin Gatlin.

In a telephone interview with the AP, Graham said USADA "pretty much banned me without ever granting me a hearing and refuse to.

"That's why I filed the suit," said Graham, who is representing himself in his lawsuit. "(USADA) continues to slander my name to the public as if I had been found guilty by the USADA, and I have not been found guilty. I've never been tried."

In 2008, Graham was sentenced to a year of home confinement for lying to federal investigators during a doping investigation.

It was Graham who provided the government with its first evidence in the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative steroids probe, mailing a vial of a designer drug called "the clear" to USADA in 2003. Graham initially was granted immunity for his cooperation, but the agreement did not protect him from prosecution for making false statements.

Graham says USADA violated his First Amendment and due process rights by not granting him a hearing before the American Arbitration Association.

"Mr. Graham was afforded a full legal process established under federal law prior to being sanctioned by USADA," agency spokeswoman Erin Hannan said. "This is obviously just another attempt by Mr. Graham to rob clean athletes of USADA's limited resources by forcing us to defend this meritless suit, which we have not even been served."

According to the lawsuit, Graham wants a hearing before USADA and the arbitration association and that "my good name be reinstated with all sport agencies and the media as well as the ability to once again coach."