SAN FRANCISCO -- Government lawyers urged a federal appeals
court to jail two newspaper reporters who refused to testify about
who leaked them secret grand jury testimony from a steroids
In written arguments Friday, federal prosecutors told the Ninth
U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that San Francisco Chronicle
reporters Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams should be imprisoned
for up to 18 months for not revealing the source of the
The prosecutors asked the San Francisco-based court to uphold a
judge's contempt-of-court orders against Fainaru-Wada and Williams,
arguing that reporters do not have special privileges that allow
them to keep evidence from a grand jury.
Chronicle lawyers have argued that making journalists identify
their sources would hurt their ability to report on government
In a series of articles published in 2004, Fainaru-Wada and
Williams quoted from grand jury transcripts in which baseball
player Jason Giambi and track star Tim Montgomery admitted taking
steroids. San Francisco slugger Barry Bonds, who is being
investigated by a grand jury for possible perjury, testified that
he thought the substances he was using were legal.
Victor Conte, founder of the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative,
Bonds' trainer, Greg Anderson, and three others have pleaded guilty
to distributing illegal performance-enhancing drugs.
A federal judge held both reporters in contempt in September,
sentencing them to 18 months in prison unless they reveal their
sources. The newspaper was also held in contempt and fined $1,000 a
day, but both penalties were suspended until the appellate court
The appeals court hearing is scheduled for Feb. 12.