Tonya Harding began placing phone calls to trace Nancy Kerrigan's whereabouts before Christmas, shortly after Harding placed a distant fourth in an international figure skating competition in Japan, court records show.
The records also indicate that Harding lied about the phone calls when questioned by authorities nearly two weeks after Kerrigan was attacked Jan. 6 at the U.S. National Figure Skating Championships in Detroit. The records, which are being reviewed by a grand jury, provide the most detailed independent evidence linking Harding to the three men, including her ex-husband, who have already been charged in the attack.A special committee formed by the U.S. Figure Skating Association also is reviewing the court records and will hold its second meeting Friday in Colorado Springs, Colo., to determine if there is enough evidence to remove Harding from the U.S. Olympics team. Bill Hybl, the former USOC president who heads the panel, has said the committee might have a recommendation by Saturday.
In a transcript of an interview Harding gave to the FBI, Harding said "shortly before Christmas" she called the U.S. Figure Skating Association "to get the telephone number of the skating rink where Kerrigan practices." Harding said she called the rink and left a message for Kerrigan that Harding wanted her to autograph a picture.
Kerrigan never returned the call.
Harding did not tell the FBI of subsequent phone calls she made to a freelance figure skating writer in Pennsylvania asking where Kerrigan lived and practiced.
In a statement given to the FBI Jan. 24, the writer, Vera Marano, said Harding called her two days after Christmas and said she "had a bet with someone regarding Nancy Kerrigan" and needed the name of the "facility where Nancy Kerrigan currently trained. She also wanted to know if Kerrigan owned property on Cape Cod."
Marano could not be reached for comment Thursday, but in her FBI statement the writer said she had obtained the information and left a message for Harding on her home telephone answering machine.
The day after she left the message, Marano said, Harding called her back and asked for clarification and the spelling of the Tony Kent Arena in Boston, where Kerrigan practices.
Earlier disclosures by the FBI have shown that the confessed "hit man" who injured Kerrigan's knee, Shane Stant, at first went to Boston and tried to attack her there, but could not find Kerrigan at the arena or locate her residence.
In a related development Thursday, the FBI said it had obtained garbage from Harding's and Gillooly's home that showed one notation for "Tunee Can Arena" and another for "Tony Kent Arena," as well as the address of the rink, where Kerrigan works out. Also included were the phone number of the arena and another phone number with the same area code.