Welch, Johnson Won't Appeal, Will Go to Trial

Welch, Johnson Won't Appeal, Will Go to Trial

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Attorneys for the Salt Lake Olympic bid leaders accused of providing International Olympic Committee members and their families with more than $1 million in cash and gifts say their clients will go to trial rather than appeal a ruling reinstating charges against them.

The federal case against bid leader Tom Welch and deputy Dave Johnson had been thrown out by a federal judge in Salt Lake City, but the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last week reinstated all 15 felony charges of conspiracy, bribery racketeering and fraud.

"We think the 10th Circuit was wrong, but the point of it is, these guys have suffered so long with this hanging over their heads, it's my view we probably ought to just get it over with and get the final decision, Johnson's attorney, Max Wheeler, said Thursday.

Blair Brown, an attorney for Welch, said, "We don't expect to appeal on behalf of Mr. Welch. We want to proceed to trial and have a jury assess the evidence."

Brown and Wheeler were quoted in a copyright article in Friday's editions of the Deseret News.

Prosecutor Richard Wiedis said the defense decision was "not surprising given the fact that a unanimous panel of judges in the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals has said that the indictment is sufficient."

Welch said earlier that the trial will give him a chance to tell his story: that lavishing gifts on IOC members in the successful pursuit of the 2002 Winter Games was the way the game was played by other bid cities and that Utah's political and business elite knew what he was doing.

Last week's ruling came 41/2 years after the worst scandal in Olympic history erupted when a letter regarding one of the many scholarships for relatives of IOC delegates was leaked.

The scandal forced the expulsion or resignation of 10 IOC members.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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