Mon, Dec 25, 2006 - Page 18 News List

Prosecutors urge prison terms for BALCO reporters


Federal prosecutors in the BALCO steroid case have urged an appeals court to jail the two San Francisco Chronicle reporters who obtained grand jury testimony, the newspaper reported on Saturday.

Lawyers are pushing to jail Lance Williams and Mark Fainaru-Wada for up to 18 months for refusing to disclose the source of their private information to a grand jury.

The move came as a report by Yahoo Sports cited former defense investigator Larry McCormack as saying Troy Ellerman, a former attorney for BALCO founder Victor Conte, had been the source of the testimony leak.

The reporters have not commented on the report. Their appeal hearing is set for Feb. 12.

Fainaru-Wada and Williams wrote stories in 2004 based on the testimony that linked San Francisco Giants baseball star Barry Bonds, New York Yankees star Jason Giambi and former athletics great Tim Montgomery to the BALCO case.

Montgomery and Giambi admitted taking steroids while Bonds said he never knowingly took steroids.

A grand jury is investigating possible perjury in his case.

Ironically, the longest sentences to be served in the BALCO case could be the ones imposed upon the journalists who revealed the story because they will not divulge their source's identity.

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