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BALCO founder to appear before panel

2/1/2005

SAN FRANCISCO -- Victor Conte said Monday he is not the
source of leaks of grand jury testimony from Barry Bonds, Jason Giambi and other prominent athletes who testified before the secret
panel that indicted Conte and three others for allegedly
distributing steroids.

Conte, who founded the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative, which
is at the center of a sports steroid doping scandal, is being
investigated by a grand jury trying to find out who leaked
testimony to the San Francisco Chronicle in violation of secrecy
rules and a court order.
"I did not ever provide the SF Chronicle with BALCO grand jury
transcripts by any means or method," Conte said in an e-mail to
The Associated Press. "The facts will eventually come out."
Conte is subpoenaed to appear before the San Francisco panel
Tuesday at noon ET and turn over the contents of the hard drive in a
computer from Burlingame-based BALCO. He may also be asked to
testify.
Authorities also raided his San Mateo house Wednesday, seizing
another computer, cellular phone and lab records in an attempt to
find whether he was the leak. Last year, the grand jury
investigation led to indictments of Conte and three other men connected to BALCO.
Because of Wednesday's raid, Conte said in the e-mail that the
government violated the right of secrecy between him and his
attorney, Robert Holley, "by confiscating all of the legal
documents exchanged by my attorney and myself since the beginning
of the case."
Holley said in a court filing late Friday that the computer hard
drive the grand jury wants him to hand over also contains trial
strategy, including communications between him, Conte, and BALCO
vice president James Valente, who is also indicted.
To avoid a conflict of interest, Los Angeles prosecutors are
handling the leak investigation because the San Francisco office
also had access to the grand jury transcripts although it denies it
was the subject of the leak. Thom Mrozek, a spokesman for federal
prosecutors in Los Angeles, declined comment.
Last week's search of Conte's house came nearly two months after
a series of news reports about the 2003 grand jury testimony of
Bonds, Giambi, New York Yankees outfielder Gary Sheffield and other
baseball players. The testimony from track star Tim Montgomery was
leaked to the San Francisco Chronicle in June. Grand jury testimony
is supposed to be secret.
Bonds testified that he used a clear substance and a cream given
to him by his trainer who was indicted in the case, though Bonds
said he didn't know they were steroids, the Chronicle reported.
Giambi said he injected himself with human growth hormone in 2003
and used steroids for at least three seasons, according to the
newspaper.
Conte is awaiting trial in U.S. District Court in San Francisco
on steroid-conspiracy charges for allegedly distributing illegal
drugs to more than 30 baseball, football and track and field stars.
Also facing trial are Greg Anderson, Bonds' weight trainer, Valente
and veteran track coach Remy Korchemny.
The start of that trial is still pending.