Defendants' attorneys allege illegal searches, coercion


SAN FRANCISCO -- No misconduct occurred during the
investigation of a man charged with distributing illegal steroids
to some of the nation's best-known athletes, federal prosecutors
contended in briefs filed Friday.

Attorneys for four defendants charged in the case allege their
clients were subjected to illegal searches and coerced by federal

The four are connected to BALCO, a nutritional supplement lab at
the center of a scandal that has rippled through the ranks of the
nation's professional and Olympic athletes.

An attorney for one defendant, personal trainer Greg Anderson,
claims leaks by government officials and misconduct by the lead
investigator are sufficient grounds for dismissal.

Anderson was the trainer for San Francisco Giants outfielder
Barry Bonds, who was among dozens of athletes called to testify
before the grand jury last November and December.

Anderson's attorney, Anna Ling, is seeking to suppress evidence
and statements investigators said her client made. Ling alleged in
a motion filed earlier this month that Anderson was detained
illegally in his house and was not advised of his right to have an
attorney present.

Ling also cited alleged misconduct by Internal Revenue Service
agent Jeff Novitzky in filing search warrant affidavits,
questioning of defendants and other matters related to the case.

Federal prosecutors countered Friday with their response,
calling the arguments "meritless," adding "Anderson's statements
are outright falsehoods."

In an accompanying declaration from Novitzky, the agent states
that upon serving the search warrant, he told Anderson "that he
was not under arrest, nor did we plan to arrest him that day, and
was free to leave."

Novitzky denies any wrongdoing.

A hearing in the case is set for Dec. 1.

Victor Conte, founder of Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative,
Anderson and two other men, BALCO vice president James 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 laundering.

All have pleaded not guilty, and their attorneys have said they
would seek to have charges dismissed.