Track Coach Wants Charges Of Lying In Steroid Probe Dismissed


Saturday, July 14th 2007, 4:12 pm
By: News On 6


SAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ Lawyers for an elite track coach indicted in a federal probe of steroid use by professional athletes are seeking to have the charges dismissed because prosecutors leaked information to the media.

Trevor Graham, who trained track stars Justin Gatlin, Marian Jones and Tim Montgomery, was charged in November with three counts of making false statements to federal agents. He is accused of lying in 2004 when he said he did not distribute steroids or tell his athletes where they could get them.

In documents filed Friday in San Francisco federal court, Graham's lawyers cited widely published reports by The Associated Press that Graham ``was expected to be indicted'' as grounds for the dismissal. The stories ran the day before he was charged by the grand jury on Nov. 2.

Graham's lawyers claim U.S. Justice Department officials broke secrecy rules by tipping off the media and asked a judge to dismiss the charges because of ``prosecutorial and witness misconduct.''

They also requested the disclosure of all grand jury testimony, which they said they believed would reveal further misconduct.

Graham pleaded not guilty to the charges and was freed on $25,000 bond. If convicted, he faces up to 15 years in prison and a $750,000 fine. His trial is set to begin Sept. 24 in federal court in San Francisco.

The AP stories cited ``two Justice Department officials with knowledge of the investigation'' who were ``speaking on the condition of anonymity because the charges had not been made public'' as the sources of information about the pending indictments.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's office in San Francisco and lawyers for Graham did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment Saturday.

Graham helped launch the government's steroid probe when he mailed a vial of a designer drug, called ``the clear,'' to the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. Graham had been granted immunity for his cooperation in the investigation, but the agreement didn't protect him from prosecution for making false statements, prosecutors said.

The investigation led authorities to the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative, the now-defunct Burlingame-based supplement company that allegedly provided performance-enhancing drugs to several star professional athletes, including baseball players Barry Bonds, Jason Giambi and Gary Sheffield. So far, prosecutors have indicted seven people and won five convictions.