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2 Former Salt Lake City 2002 Winter Olympic Officials Indicted by Grand Jury

Aired July 20, 2000 - 2:21 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: We have just received word of a development in the federal investigation of bribery allegations in connection with the Salt Lake City Olympics.

CNN Justice correspondent Pierre Thomas is working the story. He joins us from Washington -- Pierre.

PIERRE THOMAS, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Natalie, it's just been announced -- the Justice Department is announcing that a federal grand jury operating out of Salt Lake City has indicted two key members of the Salt Lake City Organizing Committee for the 2002 Olympic winter games. Tom Welsh and Dave Johnson, president and vice president of the Salt Lake City Organizing Committee, have been indicted for participating in an alleged scheme, conspiracy to bribe their way to get the games. Essentially, the indictment holds forth that they paid out more than a million dollars in order to get the games to Salt Lake City.

Again, this has just come in. We're reviewing the documents, but pretty major development in this case.

ALLEN: What are the specifics? Can you give us an example of one of these alleged bribery schemes and who benefited?

THOMAS: Well, basically, the allegation is that Salt Lake City Organizing Committee members paid out cash, gave lavish gifts in order to influence the International Olympic Committee to bring the games to Salt Lake City, that basically all this was going on under the table. The indictment charges that there was mail fraud, racketeering and basically a conspiracy to do all this under the table, cash exchanging hands, gifts exchanging hands, in order to get the games to Salt Lake City.

ALLEN: Are these the first indictments in this investigation, and could there be more?

THOMAS: There have been a number of earlier indictments. These are the two main players that have been under investigation. The investigation continues.

ALLEN: And does any of this, Pierre, put these Olympics set for 2002 in jeopardy? THOMAS: There's no word on that. But, clearly, this has been major news in terms of whether the United States, and particularly Salt Lake City, had gone overboard in trying to get the games. Defenders of these men have said that, look, this game has long been played, that Salt Lake City did not do anything that other cities who have been trying to get these games and bring in millions of dollars to the respective cities had been doing.

ALLEN: Pierre Thomas in Washington, thanks.

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