SBD/Issue 102/Law & Politics

Attorney Troy Ellerman Admits To Leaking BALCO Testimony

Federal Authorities To Drop Charges Against
Reporters Fainaru-Wada (l) And Williams

Federal authorities said that they “would drop their effort to send” S.F. Chronicle reporters Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams to prison for refusing to disclose the source of leaked BALCO grand jury testimony after Pro Rodeo Cowboys Association Commissioner Troy Ellerman, a former attorney for BALCO Founder Victor Conte and VP James Valente, admitted in court documents yesterday that he provided Fainaru-Wada with the transcripts, according to Bob Egelko of the S.F. CHRONICLE. Ellerman admitted allowing Fainaru-Wada to “take verbatim notes of grand jury testimony” by Giants LF Barry Bonds, Yankees 1B Jason Giambi and Tigers RF Gary Sheffield, and sprinter Tim Montgomery in ’04. While Ellerman was “secretly leaking the transcripts, ... he was publicly complaining to a federal judge about the leaks, and he even filed a motion in October 2004 to dismiss charges, arguing that the disclosures made a fair trial ‘practically impossible.’” Ellerman agreed to plead guilty to obstruction of justice and making a false declaration, in addition to two counts of contempt of court for leaking the transcripts (S.F. CHRONICLE, 2/15). Williams said that Ellerman’s admission “caught him and Fainaru-Wada by surprise,” and he “declined to confirm that Ellerman was their confidential source.” Williams: “The whole point of our situation is that we’re not going to give our sources to anyone as long as we have a confidentiality agreement in place, and we do” (L.A. TIMES, 2/15).

RAINS CALL FOR FURTHER ACTION: Bonds’ attorney, Michael Rains, said that Fainaru-Wada and Williams “should be prosecuted on charges of conspiring with Ellerman to disclose the grand jury transcripts.” Rains: “I think they’re co-conspirators in a criminal enterprise with Troy Ellerman ... a deceitful attempt to undermine orders of a federal judge.” The CHRONICLE’s Egelko notes Rains last year “unsuccessfully sued” the reporters, the publisher of their book, “Game of Shadows,” and the Chronicle “on similar grounds” (S.F. CHRONICLE, 2/15).

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