So far, the Chronicle's lawyers have argued unsuccessfully that reporters should not be compelled to testify because the public benefit of their reporting outweighs the harm caused by the disclosure of grand jury material. U.S. District Court Judge Jeffrey White is expected to spell out their punishment on Thursday should they remain in contempt of court, though the government has already struck a deal that will allow Fainaru-Wada and Williams to remain out of jail during the appeals process.
Not lost on Rains is that Bonds' personal trainer and boyhood friend, Greg Anderson, has been found in contempt of court twice for refusing to testify and is in jail for a second term. Anderson, who earlier served three months after pleading guilty to steroid distribution and money laundering, has refused to tell the court whether he gave Bonds steroids. At issue is whether Bonds, who owns baseball's single-season home run record and is approaching Hank Aaron's career record, lied under oath when he told a grand jury in 2003 that he never knowingly took steroids.
Anderson's testimony appears to be pivotal to making a successful perjury case against Bonds.
Even if Bonds is indicted, would a jury of his San Francisco peers convict him?"They need to be in jail," Rains said of the reporters, whose work further cast Bonds as a steroid-enhanced cheat. "Other media people, of course, take exception with my attitude about that; but I say unless they go to jail, you make a complete mockery of the grand jury system. Since when can anybody declare that the purpose of our dealing with this issue has a larger purpose, and that is to educate the public?
"How can these guys sit there and say, 'Oh, yeah, we've convinced kids in the Central Valley that they shouldn't take steroids. And look at all the good that is coming.' Come on, give me a break. This is all about money. It is all about a newspaper that was having financial problems. It is all about them making dough and how much they can make [from the book]."
In 2004, Fainaru-Wada and Williams began quoting closed-door testimony of Jason Giambi, Montgomery and other high-profile athletes that indicated the athletes had been supplied performance-enhancing drugs by the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative. They also reported that Bonds testified he, too, received substances, though he told the grand jury that he believed them to be flaxseed oil and arthritis balm. Prosecutors suspect the substances were the BALCO-supplied performance-enhancing drugs known as "the clear" and "the cream."
Before the first Chronicle story appeared, a federal judge issued orders in March 2004 that prohibited BALCO defendants as well as government personnel from disclosing grand jury transcripts and other confidential materials to the media. At least three other attorneys for defendants in the BALCO case strongly back Rains' suspicion that the source of the leaks is a government employee.
Only attorneys for the four BALCO defendants (Anderson, BALCO founder and president Victor Conte, vice president James Valente and track coach Remi Korchemny) and the government were privy to the discovery documents. It's difficult, they say, to fathom that a defense attorney would turn over reams of documents at the risk of losing the license to practice law.