SBD/Issue 223/Law & Politics

“Game Of Shadows” Authors Must Reveal Grand Jury Sources

Judge Orders Williams (l) And Fainaru-Wada
To Reveal Source Of BALCO Testimony

U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White ruled that S.F. Chronicle reporters Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams “must reveal who provided them with secret grand jury testimony of Barry Bonds and other star athletes on steroid use,” according to Joe Mozingo of the L.A. TIMES. White agreed with federal prosecutors “that journalists have no special protection from grand jury inquiries.” White wrote, “The court finds itself bound by the law governing this case to subordinate the (reporters’) interests to the interests of the grand jury.” Fainaru-Wada and Williams, who plan to appeal the ruling, used the testimony from the federal probe into BALCO as the basis for their book, “Game Of Shadows.” Hearst Corp. VP & General Counsel Eve Burton, whose company owns the Chronicle, said, “We are deeply disappointed with the court’s decision but note that the court acknowledged the important 1st Amendment interests at stake.” S.F. Chronicle Editor Phil Bronstein: “We will not comply with the government’s effort, which we believe is not in the best interests of an informed public. We will pursue all judicial avenues available to us” (L.A. TIMES, 8/16). Burton said that Fainaru-Wada and Williams will “seek a stay that would protect them while they appeal White’s ruling.” Bronstein added, “They performed a service by creating public awareness of the use of performance-enhancing drugs by some of the best athletes in the world. As a result of their work, significant reforms have been instituted from [MLB] to high school sports” (S.F. CHRONICLE, 8/16).

NOT IN TIME: In N.Y., Red & Thompson report Burton and the other Hearst attorneys “had hoped that a shield law ... would make it through Congress in time to help protect the reporters.” However, the Free Flow of Information Act, which is sponsored by U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA), “is not scheduled to be reviewed until Sept. 14 in a House subcommittee hearing” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 8/16).

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