A u. S. judge rejected motions to dismiss charges against the main defendants in the BALCO steroid scandal yesterday but ordered hearings on whether the government acted properly...
SAN FRANCISCO — A U.S. judge rejected motions to dismiss charges against the main defendants in the BALCO steroid scandal yesterday but ordered hearings on whether the government acted properly in the investigation.
Victor Conte, head of the BALCO lab south of San Francisco, had asked the court to dismiss charges against him on grounds of “outrageous government conduct” and other violations.
“Defendants have not presented a sufficient factual basis to warrant an evidentiary hearing on this motion, given the ‘extremely high standard’ of outrageous conduct,” U.S. District Court Judge Susan Illston wrote in her decision.
Conte, Greg Anderson — Barry Bonds’ personal trainer — and two others are charged with distributing steroids in a scandal that has tarred top names in global sport.
The defendants also said the warrants in the case were based on an out-of-date tip from an informant, but Illston rejected that argument.
She did side with the defendants in allowing a hearing on whether law enforcement agents gave Conte a copy of their search warrant before a September 2003 search of BALCO.
Illston allowed a hearing on whether investigators read defendants their Miranda rights — which informs persons taken into custody that they have the right to remain silent.
The dispute over information Conte told investigators has lost some of its urgency this month.
In an article and television interviews, he admitted distributing steroids to top athletes, and said he devised a doping program for Olympic champion Marion Jones. Jones denies the allegations and has sued Conte.
Illston set a Jan. 31 date for the evidentiary hearings. The BALCO trial could begin in March.