Reporters Ordered by Federal Judge
Testify in Steroids Probe
SAN FRANCISCO — A U.S. federal judge ordered two San Francisco Chronicle reporters on Tuesday to name sources who gave them grand jury testimony from professional athletes involved in a long-running steroids investigation.
U.S. District Court Judge Jeffrey White wrote in a ruling that reporters Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams must disclose their sources.
The two have said they would not comply with such an order. Chronicle Editor Phil Bronstein said in a statement the newspaper would stand by them in protecting the confidentiality of their sources.
"We will not comply with the government's effort, which we believe is not in the best interests of an informed public," Bronstein said. "We will pursue all judicial avenues available to us. Their work speaks for itself."
The two reporters have covered the doping scandal and in 2004 made public grand jury details that helped launch an ongoing probe into whether San Francisco slugger Barry Bonds had lied during testimony about steroid use linked to the BALCO affair.
Grand jury transcripts are typically closely held, circulated only between judges, prosecutors, defense lawyers and defendants. Unauthorized distribution is a crime.
A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office declined to comment on whether the reporters would face contempt of court charges if they do not testify.
Another U.S. District Court judge in San Francisco earlier this month sentenced the Illinois chemist who devised a steroid at the center of the BALCO sports laboratory's doping scandal to three months in prison. The judge last year sentenced the head of BALCO to four months jail and four months home confinement.
The three-month prison sentence punishment was the same given to Bonds' personal trainer last year for steroid distribution in the BALCO affair, that has tarred the reputations of top athletes in track and field, baseball and football.
source: http://today.reuters.com/news/articlenews.aspx?type=domesticNews&storyID=2006-08-16T000643Z_01_N15438807_RTRUKOC_0_US-DOPING-BALCO.xml&archived=False 26aug2006