AP permitted to contest that names in search warrant should be revealed
NEW YORK -- A federal judge gave permission for The Associated Press to argue that names should be revealed from a search warrant in which former major league pitcher Jason Grimsley allegedly implicated players in steroids use.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Edward C. Voss signed the one-page order Tuesday, and it was received by the AP's lawyers on Thursday. Oral arguments on the AP's application have been scheduled for July 26 in U.S. District Court in Phoenix.
In papers filed last month, the AP said a sworn statement signed in May 2006 by IRS Special Agent Jeff Novitzky should be released in its entirety based on legal precedent and public interest. The affidavit was used to obtain a search warrant for Grimsley's home in Arizona.
The Major League Baseball Players Association opposes the AP request and also has asked to intervene. Voss is awaiting reply briefs, which are due July 19, before ruling on the union's application, AP lawyer David Bodney said.
The U.S. Attorney's Office in San Francisco, which is handling the case for the government, filed papers this week opposing the AP application. It argued there is no right to disclosure and that the names should remain private because the investigation is ongoing.
David Segui told ESPN in June 2006 that he was one of the blacked-out names, and the Los Angeles Times reported last October that Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte, Miguel Tejada, Brian Roberts and Jay Gibbons also were named.
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 Michael Ryan, then the U.S. Attorney in San Francisco, said the report contained "significant inaccuracies."
In a separate case in federal court in Central Islip, N.Y., Hearst Corp. asked a federal judge 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.
Radomski implicated individuals in the use of performance-enhancing drugs and Hearst wants the names of up to 23 players in that sworn statement to be revealed. The U.S. Attorney in San Francisco and the players' association are also opposed to the release of names in that case.
U.S. District Court Judge Thomas C. Platt won't decide whether to schedule a hearing in the Hearst case until after reply briefs are submitted July 23.
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press