Graham to receive court-appointed attorney

Updated: December 11, 2007, 10:47 PM ET
By Mike Fish | ESPN.com

Trevor Graham, who fueled the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative drug scandal when he anonymously sent a steroid-laced syringe to doping officials four years ago, is expected to have San Francisco attorney William P. Keane appointed as his new counsel when he returns to court Friday morning.

Graham's previous attorneys, Gail Shiffman of San Francisco and Joseph Zeszotarski, a Raleigh, N.C.-based attorney who has a long association with the prominent track coach, were allowed to withdraw less than two weeks before Graham was set to go on trial Nov. 26 in San Francisco. Graham was indicted last year on three counts of lying to federal agents during the BALCO investigation.

The federal probe has led to five criminal convictions and suspensions of more than a dozen athletes, along with the recent indictment of baseball's home run king, Barry Bonds. Graham, who was championed initially as a whistle-blower out to rid the sport of steroids, would be the first person to go on trial if a plea deal isn't reached.

Keane, a white-collar crime specialist, was a former assistant U.S. Attorney in San Jose, Calif., before joining Farella Braun & Martel in 1997. He is now a partner in the firm.

"I do anticipate being appointed by the court to represent him,'' Keane told ESPN.com. "We have an appearance before the magistrate for identification of counsel at 10:30 on Friday and then we appear for trial setting at 11 before Judge [Susan] Illston. I expect that I will be appointed to represent him, and then we will go from there.''

Neither Shiffman nor Zeszotarski have returned calls seeking comment. Graham said only, "Well, they're not my attorney anymore.''

Court documents suggest the legal shuffling may be related to finances. According to a Nov. 29 filing, the court said it was satisfied that Graham couldn't afford the costs of traveling from his Raleigh home to San Francisco for his upcoming appearance. As a result, the U.S. Marshall is picking up the tab for his round-trip air transportation, two nights lodging in San Francisco, three days meal per diem and ground transportation.

Mike Fish is an investigative reporter for ESPN.com. He can be reached at michaeljfish@gmail.com.