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Court rules feds are entitled to baseball steroid testing data


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Court rules feds are entitled to baseball steroid testing data

By DAVID KRAVETS and PAUL ELIAS, Associated Press Writers

December 27, 2006


SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- The names and urine samples of about 100 Major League Baseball players who tested positive three years ago can be used by federal investigators, a court ruled Wednesday -- a decision that could have implications for Barry Bonds.


The ruling from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals could bolster the government's perjury case against Bonds if investigators are able to link his name to a positive test from baseball's anonymous testing in 2003. The San Francisco Giants slugger has been the target of a perjury investigation since he testified before a 2004 grand jury that he didn't knowingly use illegal drugs.


The decision also could help authorities find the drug sources. Those who tested positive could be called before the federal grand jury and asked where they obtained their performance-enhancing drugs.


Greg Anderson, Bonds' personal trainer, is currently in prison for refusing to testify in the perjury probe. Anderson previously was convicted of steroids distribution.


During 2004 raids on three labs involved in the MLB testing program, investigators seized computer files containing the 2003 test results. The unidentified samples had been collected as part of a MLB survey to gauge the prevalence of steroid use.


Baseball players and owners agreed in their 2002 labor contract that the results would be confidential, and each player was assigned a code number to be matched with his name.


Quest Diagnostics of Teterboro, N.J., one of the largest drug-testing firms in the nation, analyzed more than 1,400 urine samples from players in the 2003 season. Comprehensive Drug Testing, of Long Beach, coordinated the collection of specimens and compiled the data.


Subpoenas were issued to both companies in late 2003, a day before the test results were to be destroyed, and in April 2004 Internal Revenue Service agents seized the test results and samples. It's unclear whether the data seized includes test results or specimens from Bonds.


Bonds always has maintained he never tested positive, but federal investigators demanded to see the 2003 test results for Bonds, then Yankees players Gary Sheffield and Jason Giambi and seven other players. When they raided the testing labs for those 10 results, investigators also seized computer files containing the test results of nearly 100 other players not named in the government's subpoena and warrants.


The Major League Baseball Players Association protested the seizure as a violation of the players' constitutional rights.


Bonds' attorney didn't immediately return calls for comment.


Michael Weiner, general counsel for the players' association, which sued to keep the government from accessing the records, declined to immediately comment, wanting first to review the decision.


The government's investigation of the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative, the Burlingame supplements lab at the center of the steroid scandal, already has resulted in guilty pleas from BALCO president Victor Conte, BALCO vice president James Valente, chemist Patrick Arnold, track coach Remi Korchemny and Anderson.


Bonds agreed this month to a $16 million deal to play for the Giants next season. Details are still being negotiated, and the Giants haven't announced the agreement.




soon, we'll know who was in fact using steroids or not....

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