Saturday, July 16, 2005

Three BALCO Defendants Enter Guilty Pleas, While One Gets Cold Feet

Three of the four defendants in the BALCO steroid manufacturing case entered guilty pleas today (see earlier post here).  Victor Conte, Greg Anderson (former personal trainer for Barry Bonds), and James Valente appeared before U.S. District Court Judge Susan Illston and affirmed their guilt to drug distribution and, for Conte, money laundering charges.  A fourth defendant, Remi Korchemny, decided not to go forward with a plea because, according to an AP story (on ESPN.com here), he got "cold feet" about admitting his guilt while waiting in the courtroom for a plea agreement to be completed in another unrelated drug case.  Anderson stated "Yes" in response to the judge's question whether he distributed steroids to athletes. 

Judge Illston will hold a sentencing hearing for the three on Oct. 18 to finally accept the pleas and sentence them.  While the guilty pleas mean that a number of well-known athletes, including Bond and New York Yankee Jason Giambi, will not have to testify, the specter of a continuing investigation for perjury lingers for any athlete who denied in the grand jury receiving steroids from BALCO. (ph)

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