AP requests to make names in steroids case public

Updated: June 22, 2007, 10:42 AM ET
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- The Associated Press asked a federal judge to make public the names of baseball players a government agent said were implicated in drug use by former major league pitcher Jason Grimsley.

In an application filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Phoenix, the AP said a sworn statement signed in May 2006 to obtain a search warrant for Grimsley's home in Arizona should be released in its entirety based on legal precedent and public interest.

When the affidavit, signed by IRS Special Agent Jeff Novitzky, was made public in June 2006, names of the players Novitzky said Grimsley accused of using performance-enhancing drugs were blacked out.

"Any privacy interests of individuals named in the affidavit are insufficient to overcome the public's right to access," the AP said in its court filing.

The AP also said that if prosecutors provided the complete affidavit to baseball steroids investigator George Mitchell, "then they should not be allowed to invoke the privacy interests of third parties as a shield to prevent disclosure to others."

David Segui told ESPN in June 2006 that he was one of the blacked-out names, and the Los Angeles Times reported in October that Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte and Miguel Tejada were also named, along with Brian Roberts and Jay Gibbons.

Players in the Times report denied using steroids, and Randy Hendricks, the agent for Clemens and Pettitte, said he was told Grimsley denied making the statements attributed to him by Novitzky. Grimsley has not commented publicly and a federal prosecutor said the report contained "significant inaccuracies."

Natalya LaBauve, spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in San Francisco, and Wyn Hornbuckle, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Phoenix, declined comment.

The investigation of Grimsley is being run by prosecutors and authorities in San Francisco, where five Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative defendants pleaded guilty to distributing or developing steroids, some of which were undetectable in drug tests.

Earlier this month, Hearst Corp. asked a federal judge in New York to make public a December 2005 sworn statement by Novitzky used to obtain a search warrant for the home of former New York Mets clubhouse attendant Kirk Radomski. The government said 36 current and former players were supplied drugs by Radomski but the names of the players were blacked out when the search warrant was unsealed this April.

Hearst said that if the names had been provided to Mitchell, they must be made public. Its motion is pending.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press