SAN FRANCISCO -- Defendants charged with distributing
illegal steroids to some of the nation's best-known athletes were
subjected to illegal searches and coerced by federal investigators,
defense lawyers said Friday.
The four defendants are connected to Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative, a nutritional
supplement lab at the center of a scandal that has rippled through
the ranks of the nation's professional and Olympic athletes.
Attorneys for three of the defendants said they will seek to
dismiss the federal indictments against their clients. Friday was
the deadline to file motions in the case.
Alleged leaks by government officials and misconduct by the lead
investigator are sufficient grounds for dismissal, said the
attorney for one defendant, personal trainer Greg Anderson.
"It has come to the point now where so many leaks are
continuing where our client can't even get a fair trial," attorney
Anna Ling said. "Stuff that's even false is coming out."
A motion for dismissal also has been filed on behalf of Victor
Conte, founder of Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative, said one of his
attorneys, Robert Holley. Troy Ellerman, the attorney for BALCO vice president James Valente, also has filed. Such motions are common in criminal
Conte, Anderson, Valente and track coach Remi Korchemny are charged with
distributing steroids, including the previously undetectable THG,
to top athletes. Charges also include possession of human growth
hormone, misbranding drugs with intent to defraud, and money
All have pleaded not guilty.
Korchemny's attorney did not immediately return
calls to The Associated Press seeking comment.
Ling said she also would seek to suppress evidence and the
statements investigators said her client made.
Anderson was detained illegally in his house and was not advised
of his right to have an attorney present or to keep quiet, she
said. He was told that if he didn't tell investigators the truth,
"it will be worse for you," Ling said.
Anderson also maintains that he never incriminated himself or
other athletes, contrary to a report by federal investigators, Ling
The U.S. Attorney's office in San Francisco said it would not
comment on the defense claims.
Ling also cites alleged misconduct by IRS
agent Jeff Novitzky in filing search warrant affidavits,
questioning of defendants and other matters related to the case.
One affidavit for a search warrant obtained by Novitzky details
dozens of checks written to Conte by current NFL and major league
baseball players, as well as one from an Olympic gold medalist.
Novitzky's superiors issued a statement supporting him.
"This is a matter for the courts to settle," said Kenneth
Hines, assistant special agent in charge of the IRS's criminal
investigation division in San Francisco. "As for special agent
Novitzky, we are certain of his integrity and his
Federal prosecutors will be given a chance to respond to the
motions before a hearing scheduled for Dec. 1.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.