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Marion Jones asks Bush to commute sentence

WASHINGTON — Disgraced Olympic track star Marion Jones has asked President Bush to commute her six-month prison sentence for lying to federal agents about her use of performance-enhancing drugs and a check-fraud scam.

The Justice Department confirmed Monday that Jones is among hundreds of convicted felons who have applied for presidential pardons or sentence commutations, but would provide no further details. A pardon is an official act of forgiveness that removes civil liabilities stemming from a criminal conviction, while a commutation reduces or eliminates a person's sentence.

Such applications are reviewed by the Justice Department, which makes a recommendation to the president.It's unclear when Jones, who won three gold and two bronze medals at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, made the request. She entered prison March 7 in Fort Worth at Federal Medical Center Carswell.

After frequently denying that she ever used performance-enhancing drugs, Jones admitted last October she had lied to federal investigators in November 2003. Jones also admitted lying about her knowledge of the involvement of Tim Montgomery, the father of her older son and a former 100-meter world-record holder, in a scheme to cash millions of dollars worth of stolen or forged checks.

Jones was sentenced in January to six months in prison and 400 hours of community service in each of the two years following her release. She was sentenced to six months on the steroids case and two months on the check-fraud case, but was permitted to serve those sentences concurrently.

The judge in Jones' case said the check-fraud scheme was a major crime, and the wide use of steroids “affects the integrity of athletic competition.”