Even as he waits for the Justice Department to ferret out the source of leaks in the BALCO steroids scandal, the lawyer for Barry Bonds claims to have what he calls "fairly compelling evidence" that the source is a federal employee.
For the moment, defensive attorney Michael Rains is content to wait for the U.S. attorney's office in Los Angeles -- handed this chore because the investigation involves employees of the federal prosecutor's office in San Francisco -- to "out" the person or persons who leaked transcripts of secret grand jury testimony and other sealed documents. But Rains threatens to go public with his information if the government indicts Bonds, the San Francisco slugger who is thought to be the target of potential perjury or tax evasion charges.
Even without an indictment, he wants answers about the source, and he promises to use his information if those answers aren't forthcoming.
Michael Rains, Barry Bonds' attorney, isn't afraid to stand up to the government."I have a pretty damn good idea of who it is," said Rains, though he declined to share his specific evidence. "And I have a pretty damn good idea that it is someone whose paycheck looks a lot like the people who are conducting the grand jury to determine who it is. Meaning, it is somebody who is employed by the federal government. The problem is that I would like to see if the government really is going to ferret out the wrongdoing on their own, even if the wrongdoer turns out to be somebody who is employed by the federal government. And if they do, my faith in their integrity and their resilience and whatnot is restored. But if they don't, then I guess I will. If they try to take a shot at Barry, we'll do it then."
Thom Mrozek, a spokesperson for the U.S. attorney's office in L.A., refused to address Rains' allegation, saying, "We don't react to statements that are made outside of court."
Rains also told ESPN.com that government attorneys will look like "buffoons" if they choose to indict Bonds. While suggesting that the investigation had turned into the "Barry Show," the attorney boasted that a San Francisco jury will "never convict Barry" -- a notion that has strong support from other defense attorneys involved in the BALCO proceedings, who spoke on background.
Bonds' attorney fired his salvos as San Francisco Chronicle reporters Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams prepare to appear in federal court on Thursday in the government's latest attempt to get them to reveal their source of the grand jury transcripts from the BALCO proceedings, which were used to document their co-authored book, "Game of Shadows." The reporters have acknowledged publicly that they obtained the secret testimony of Bonds, Jason and Jeremy Giambi, Benito Santiago, Gary Sheffield, Bobby Estalella, Armando Rios and former sprint world-record-holder Tim Montgomery, as well as details from federal agents' interviews with a handful of coaches and other athletes.
It is illegal to leak grand jury testimony.