Former BALCO lawyer arraigned,
to plead guilty this afternoon
Photo courtesy www.thehomerunguys.com
By Julia Cheever, Bay City News Service
February 15, 2007, 12:00 p.m.
SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) - A former defense lawyer in the
BALCO, or Bay Area Laboratory Co Operative, sports steroids case
was arraigned in federal court in San Francisco today on charges
of leaking confidential grand jury transcripts.
Troy Ellerman, 44, is scheduled to plead guilty to four criminal
charges at another hearing this afternoon before U.S. District
Judge Jeffrey White.
Ellerman admitted in a proposed plea agreement filed in court
Wednesday that he leaked secret grand jury testimony by Giants
slugger Barry Bonds and three other athletes to two San Francisco
Chronicle reporters in 2004.
The admission appears to mean that reporters Lance Williams and
Mark Fainaru-Wada no longer face the threat of going to prison
for revealing the source of their information, which was published
in the Chronicle in 2004.
At this morning's arraignment, U.S. Magistrate Maria-Elena James
informed Ellerman of his rights and allowed him to go free on
a $25,000 unsecured bond.
Ellerman entered a not guilty plea, but prosecutor Michael Raphael
said outside court that the plea was a formality, entered temporarily
until Ellerman's scheduled change of plea before White at 2:30
The proposed agreement calls for Ellerman to plead guilty to
two counts of contempt of court, one count of making a false statement
under oath and one count of obstruction of justice.
Ellerman briefly represented BALCO President Victor Conte and
later became the lawyer for BALCO Vice-President James Valente.
Both men pleaded guilty in 2005 to giving anabolic steroids to
Conte was sentenced to eight months of confinement and Valente
was placed on probation.
Ellerman and the other defense lawyers as well as the BALCO defendants
and prosecutors were given copies of the grand jury transcripts
and were ordered by U.S. District Judge Susan Illston not to reveal
After the Chronicle published excerpts of the transcripts, the
Justice Department launched an investigation of the leak at Illston's
A Justice Department spokesman said Wednesday that the agency
now plans to withdraw subpoenas that had sought to force the two
reporters to reveal their source of the transcripts.
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