Phoenix Mercury star Diana Taurasi, who tested positive for the banned substance Modafinil two months ago in Turkey, has passed a polygraph test that may turn her case according to an ESPN report. The polygraph was conducted by former Chicago police officer John Fritz on January 18, and it consisted of only two questions.
First, Fritz asked Taurasi if she had ever taken Modafinil or any similar generic brand name drug in the past. He then followed up this question by asking Taurasi if she had lied to the Turkish Basketball Federation when stating that she had never used Modifinil or any similar generic brand name drug. Fritz's report of the polygraph reads as follows: "Subject was truthful when she answered ‘no' to the above relevant questions."
Taurasi's defense attorney Howard Jacobs has submitted the evidence to the Turkish Basketball Federation, and Jacobs now has more compelling evidence to discredit the results of Taurasi's urine samples. In addition to the findings of this polygraph test, Jacobs can (and will) point to a mishandling of the samples prior to their testing. The Turkish authorities have no documentation for where Taurasi's urine samples were kept during a seven-day period in December during which the samples were moved from Istanbul to Ankara.
Jacobs will also claim that Taurasi's samples fall outside of the allowable margin of error sanctioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). As Jacobs puts it, "This goes right to the heart of identification. It's unclear based on these tests that we're even talking about Modafinil." The fact that the Ankara lab (where Taruasi's urine samples were tested) had its drug-testing credentials suspended for three months by WADA in 2009 will only strengthen Jacobs' bid to discredit the urine sample results.
The Turkish Basketball Federation will rule on Taurasi's case within the next few weeks, and the decision could have huge repercussions for Taurasi. If things do not go her way, Taurasi will not be allowed to represent the United States in the 2012 Olympics, and she will also lose the opportunity to play abroad while being an active member of the WNBA. Taurasi, of course, is expected to appeal to the Turkish Sports and Youth Arbitration Assocation if the Turkish Basketball Federation rules against her.