SAN FRANCISCO -- BALCO founder Victor Conte could face
additional charges in connection to the Bay Area sports doping
ring, federal prosecutors said Tuesday.
Conte and three other men are charged with dozens of counts of
distributing steroids and human growth hormone, and of money
laundering in connection to raids at Burlingame-based BALCO in
2003. The government said more money laundering charges, on top of
the three for which Conte has already been indicted for, could be
unveiled by the end of the month.
Those new counts are not expected to be levied against the other
three defendants -- Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative vice president
James Valente, Barry Bonds' personal trainer, Greg Anderson, or
track coach Remi Korchemny.
"There may be some other additional counts of money laundering
that will not effect your clients, but will effect Mr. Conte,"
federal prosecutor Matthew Parrella told defense attorneys Tuesday
at a closed-door hearing before U.S. District Judge Susan Illston.
The Associated Press obtained the transcript of the hearing
about six hours later. Illston, who ordered the new indictment to
be unsealed by the end of the month, conducted the hearing via a
telephone conference call with the attorneys for the four men.
Mary McNamara, Conte's attorney, said talks about settling the
case with guilty pleas don't look good, and the government on
Tuesday declined to initiate talks with a different judge in hopes
of reaching a plea deal.
"We remain open to hearing from the government as we always
have been," McNamara said in a phone interview. "So far we have
not been able to reach any agreement. So we are pressing ahead and
preparing for trial."
Parrella told Illston: "At this point, we will not consent to a
settlement conference. However, we do recognize there are
continuing discussions and if our position changes, we will make it
clear to everybody concerned."
Trial is scheduled for all four men Sept. 6, and lawyers told
Illston that they may file motions to have the men tried
Another status conference is scheduled July 1.
The fallout from BALCO scandal has become more significant than
the case itself, with steroid use becoming a front-burner issue
from Capitol Hill to baseball clubhouses.
Earlier this year, major league baseball toughened its
drug-testing policy, mandating suspensions for initial violations
for the first time. Now, commissioner Bud Selig is pushing for even
more stringent penalties, such as a 50-game suspension for a first
offense and a lifetime ban for a third infraction.
Congress also has gotten into the act, threatening to implement
a federal drug-testing policy for the NFL, NBA, NHL and the major
leagues, with a two-year ban for a first offense and a lifetime ban
for a second violation, as well as more frequent testing.
The United States Anti-Doping Agency, often using documents
obtained in the BALCO case, has punished many top track athletes
for steroid use, and the agency hints at more suspensions.
Sprinter Tim Montgomery is having a hearing in San Francisco
this week challenging a potential lifetime ban that the U.S.
Anti-Doping Agency recommended for his alleged use of banned
Montgomery, who set the 100-meter world record in 2002, has
never tested positive for a banned substance. Still, USADA is
seeking to ban him from competition based on secret documents the
U.S. Senate obtained last year from the BALCO investigation and
then forwarded to the doping agency.
Montgomery is challenging USADA's recommendation before the
Court of Arbitration for Sport during a closed-door hearing that
began Monday and is expected to last several days.