Monday, January 31, 2005

Tracking Down the BALCO Grand Jury Transcripts Leak

Back in early December 2004, the baseball world was rocked by the revelation on successive days (by the San Francisco Chronicle) of the grand jury testimony of Jason Giambi and Barry Bonds (see posts here and here). That testimony is related to the government's prosecution of four defendants involved in the creation of "designer" steroids at BALCO (the Bay Area Laboratory Co-operative).  BALCO founder Victor Conte appeared on the television news program 20/20 after his indictment to discuss the steroid use by major athletes, including (among others) track star Marion Jones, essentially admitting to many of the charges in the government's case. 

An issue regarding the grand jury transcripts concerns the source of the leak to the Chronicle in violation of protective orders and the grand jury secrecy rule in Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 6(e), which may be punishable by contempt.  Last week, the FBI conducted a search of Conte's Bay Area home for evidence related to the leak of the grand jury transcripts, including a search of his computer.  An earlier post on the CrimProf Blog  on Jan. 10 (here) discussed possible sources of the leak of the transcripts -- given the level of detail in the Chronicle stories, it is almost certain that the reporters received copies of the grand jury transcripts and not just oral (or written) summaries.  Given Conte's penchant for publicity regarding the use (and misuse) of steroids, even when it hurts his criminal case, the government appears to be focusing on him as a source of the transcripts.  Whether the mystery of who leaked the transcripts will ever be solved is still up in the air. A story in the San Francisco Chronicle (here) discusses the search of Conte's home and related developments in the BALCO prosecution. (ph)

Grand Jury, Investigations, Prosecutors | Permalink

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