Ex-NASCAR driver Mayfield says he is innocent

Published:

CATAWBA, N.C. (AP) -- Former race car driver Jeremy Mayfield says the new criminal charges against him are "baseless" and suggests he is the target of a conspiracy involving NASCAR and law enforcement officials.

Indictments by a North Carolina grand jury released Monday charged Mayfield with three counts of possessing property stolen from businesses, and a fourth charge of obtaining property by false pretense.

The charges follow a November raid on Mayfield's Catawba home after which the former NASCAR star was charged with possessing 1.5 grams of methamphetamine

Mayfield, 42, has issued a statement through his attorneys saying he is innocent.

"For some reason, the district attorney's office simply ignored our offers to explain the sources of the items seized from my property and chose, instead, to indict," Mayfield said, according to the statement. "We do not know if there is any connection between the NASCAR lawsuit and this investigation but, based upon the evidence disclosed to us already by the district attorney's office, it appears that the Catawba County authorities have been coordinating with NASCAR officials."

Mayfield was suspended from NASCAR after failing a random drug test at Richmond International Raceway in May 2009. He was in the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond last month to argue his lawsuit seeking reinstatement as a NASCAR driver should be heard by the courts.

A lower court judge dismissed Mayfield's suit in 2010 because Mayfield had twice -- as a driver and an owner -- signed documents in order to race that waived his right to sue.

Mayfield reacted to his suspension by suing NASCAR, its owner, Brian Zachary France, and the drug testing company for defamation, unfair and deceptive trade practices, breach of contract and negligence.

Mayfield has argued that a combination of over-the-counter allergy medication Claritin-D and the prescription medication Adderall for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder led to the positive test and that NASCAR's testing system was flawed.

The latest criminal indictment accuses Mayfield of possessing goods stolen from three companies, including a sofa, love seat, and other furniture from DEA Ventures Inc. and more than $1,000 worth of personal property belonging to Red Bull Racing Inc.

Since being suspended, Mayfield has faced judgments against him in excess of $2 million for failing to pay bills, and he owes another $109,000 in property taxes. Mayfield also faces foreclosure on his 388-acre property.

In his statement, Mayfield said the criminal investigation was initiated based on the statements of a man with a lengthy criminal record.

"Before this investigation, I have never been charged with any crime more serious than speeding tickets," Mayfield said. "I have offered to cooperate fully with the prosecutors and the sheriff's department, yet the witness who brought these allegations against me has refused to be interviewed by my attorneys. We are left with no choice now but to fight this out in court."