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AP argues in court filing for release of ballplayers' names linked to drug raid

7/19/2007 - MLB

SAN FRANCISCO -- The public, Major League Baseball players
and the league would benefit if the names of players listed on a
search warrant for former Arizona pitcher Jason Grimsley's home
were revealed, The Associated Press argued in court papers filed
Thursday.

Investigators raided Grimsley's Scottsdale, Ariz. house last
year after intercepting a shipment of human growth hormone as part
of the federal government's five-year probe into
performance-enhancing drug use among professional athletes.

Grimsley, who was released by the Diamondbacks last season,
initially talked with investigators and allegedly implicated
several other players before he stopped cooperating. The names of
those players were included in the second of two warrants used to
search Grimsley's house.

But the players' names were blacked out in the publicly released
search warrants. The AP argued Thursday that the names should be
released to show the government's investigation has been fair and
worthwhile.

"The public has a legitimate interest in learning about conduct
that affects the manner in which these players perform," David
Bodney, AP's lawyer, argued in court papers filed in Phoenix
federal court, "especially where that conduct threatens to
undermine the legitimacy of the game and the records being broken
by today's players."

In papers filed last week, federal prosecutors opposed making
the players' names public, arguing that to do so would jeopardize
the ongoing investigation based in San Francisco.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Parella wrote in the
government's filing that the AP's argument on behalf of the public
good "is nothing more than a thinly veiled attempt to benefit
financially by disclosing the names of individuals identified in
the investigation."

A judge is scheduled to hear arguments in the case on July 26 in
Phoenix.

In a related case being argued in a Central Islip, N.Y. federal
court, two Hearst Corp.-owned newspapers are working for the
release of blacked-out baseball players' names included on a search
warrant used to raid the home of former New York Mets clubhouse
attendant Kirk Radomski.

The Major League Baseball Players Association filed papers
opposing the release of names in both cases.