Elite track coach Trevor Graham, whose team is based in North Carolina, pleaded not guilty Thursday to accusations he hindered a continuing government steroids probe targeting baseball star Barry Bonds and other high-profile athletes.

Graham, who has trained Justin Gatlin, Marion Jones and Tim Montgomery, is charged with three counts of making false statements to federal agents in an indictment issued Nov. 1 by the grand jury investigating performance-enhancing drugs in professional sports. Graham was freed on $25,000 bond after appearing before U.S. Magistrate Edwin Chen.

His attorney entered the plea on Graham's behalf.

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Graham operates Raleigh, N.C.-based Sprint Capitol USA, a team of about 10 athletes that includes Gatlin, the 100-meter co-world record holder who tested positive for testosterone and other steroids in April. He also coached Jones, a sprinter who won five medals at the 2000 Sydney Games, and her former boyfriend Montgomery, formerly the world's fastest man who was suspended from competition for two years for doping.

According to the indictment, Graham lied to federal investigators in 2004 when he told them he neither supplied his athletes with performance-enhancing drugs nor informed them about where drugs could be purchased. Graham was granted immunity for his cooperation, but that agreement didn't provide immunity from prosecution for making false statements.

Three years ago, Graham mailed a vial containing "the clear," a previously undetectable steroid to the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, a move that helped touch off the steroid investigation. It since has netted five convictions, including that of Patrick Arnold, the Illinois chemist who produced the clear for the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative, the now-defunct Burlingame supplement company.

Bonds' trainer, Greg Anderson, also was convicted in the BALCO investigation. The BALCO grand jury also is examining whether Bonds committed perjury when he told the grand jury in 2003 that he never knowingly used steroids. He testified that he believed Anderson supplied him with flaxseed oil and arthritis balm.

The U.S. Olympic Committee banned Graham in August from its training centers because several of his athletes have been suspended for doping offenses. Last week, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency notified Graham in a letter that he is accused of violating doping rules, sources have told The Associated Press.

Following Graham's indictment, Olympic 200-meter gold medalist Shawn Crawford and former U.S. 100-meter champion Me'Lisa Barber announced they no longer would train with him.

If convicted, Graham faces a maximum 15 years in prison and $750,000 fine.

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