Sat, May 24, 2003 - Page 20 News List

Disgraced Utah Olympic executives to go on trial

REUTERS , SALT LAKE CITY

A federal judge on Thursday ordered two former Utah Olympic executives to stand trial on Oct. 28 on charges of using more than US$1 million in bribes to lure the 2002 Winter Olympics to Salt Lake City.

US District Judge David Sam in 2001 had dismissed all 15 charges against Tom Welch and Dave Johnson, the former president and vice president of the Salt Lake Bid Committee. Last month, a federal appeals court reversed the decision and reinstated the charges against the two.

The trial will likely shine the spotlight again on the Olympics, which were embarrassed when it was revealed that money was spent on luxuries to convince dignitaries from the International Olympic Committee to choose Utah.

"It would be interesting to put the insiders under oath and on the stand and see what they knew and when," said Steve Pace, head of a watchdog group called "Utahns for Responsible Public Spending."

The two had been expected to go on trial just before Utah staged the Winter Games in February 2002. Officials were relieved when the criminal case was dismissed, although by that time attention was focused on security.

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