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USFSA dismisses Harding's appeal for hearing delay

The U.S. Figure Skating Association's executive committee dismissed an appeal in which Tonya Harding's attorneys asked for a delay of a disciplinary hearing set for Thursday in Colorado Springs.

The executive committee said that since the hearing panel has not reached a decision, the appeal was not authorized by USFSA bylaws. The attorneys wanted the USFSA to delay considering Harding's membership until after a grand jury investigating the Jan. 6 attack on Nancy Kerrigan delivers its final report March 21. If Harding is kicked out of the USFSA, she cannot skate in the World Championships March 22 in Chiba, Japan.

Harding's attorneys issued a statement saying they are disappointed by the decision: "Ms. Harding is considering her legal options and will make a decision on an appropriate course of action sometime early next week."

Harding's lawyers also criticized the unauthorized use of her photo in ads in Village Voice and NY Press for two Tower Clearance Outlets in New York. They show Harding next to a cartoon balloon saying, "Unbeatable bargains that will bring you to your knees."

Meanwhile Friday, a bomb squad took away a package received in the mail by Harding's mother, LaVona Golden. An anonymous letter attached to it read something like "I'm a Nancy Kerrigan fan, and you're Tonya Harding's mom," police said.

Sanity evaluation set

ELYRIA, Ohio _ A judge agreed to appoint a psychiatrist to evaluate murder suspect Ricardo Punsalan, brother of Olympic ice dancer Elizabeth Punsalan. Ricardo Punsalan, 21, is charged with aggravated murder in the Feb. 4 stabbing death of his father, Ernesto.