Judge given new proposal
for BALCO attorney sentence
Photo courtesy www.thehomerunguys.com
By Julia Cheever
July 5, 2007
A federal judge in San Francisco was given a new proposal today
for a stiffer sentence for an attorney who leaked secret grand
jury transcripts in the BALCO sports steroid case.
The new plea agreement between Troy Ellerman, 44, and federal
prosecutors would enable U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White to
sentence Ellerman to up to two years and nine months in prison
for the leaks.
It was announced in a three-page report filed with the judge
by federal prosecutors today.
White will decide whether to accept the new agreement at a July
12 hearing. If he rejects it, Ellerman could go to trial on four
counts carrying a maximum possible penalty of 15 years in prison.
On June 14, the judge refused to accept the original agreement,
which would have capped the maximum possible sentence for Ellerman
at two years in prison.
White said two years wasn't enough in view of the seriousness
of the crime and the fact that Ellerman as a criminal defense
attorney was an officer of the court.
Ellerman, a former Sacramento lawyer who most recently worked
as a rodeo association commissioner in Colorado, pleaded guilty
in February to four counts of leaking grand jury testimony by
Barry Bonds and other athletes to two San Francisco Chronicle
reporters in 2004.
At the time of the leaks, he represented Bay Area Laboratory
Co-Operative (BALCO) Vice President James Valente, who later pleaded
guilty to giving anabolic steroids to professional athletes.
The four charges to which Ellerman pleaded guilty were two counts
of contempt of court, one count of filing a false declaration
and one count of obstruction of justice.
In addition to violating a judge's order to keep the transcripts
confidential, Ellerman publicly blamed prosecutors for the disclosures
and even sought dismissal of the charges against Valente because
of the leaks.
White in June did not say exactly what sentence he would find
acceptable, but said it should be at least within federal guidelines
recommending a penalty of between two years and three months and
two years and nine months.
The new proposal sets a cap at "the high end of the sentencing
guideline ranges," prosecutors told the judge in today's
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