Reporters face prison in doping probe

Sept. 22, 2006 at 12:38 AM
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SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 21 (UPI) -- A U.S. judge in San Francisco said Thursday he would put two reporters in prison if they lose an appeal of his order that they name sources in a doping story.

Judge Jeffrey White said he would sentence San Francisco Chronicle reporters Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams to prison unless they persuade an appellate court that they should not have to disclose their sources for confidential grand jury testimony about athletes using performance-enhancing drugs, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

White said imprisonment is the only way to get the reporters to provide evidence to a federal grand jury about the source of the leaks.

He rejected arguments by their lawyers that a fine would be a more appropriate sanction, the Chronicle said. He also rejected a prosecution request to imprison the reporters Williams for 18 months, ordering instead that they be confined for the rest of the current grand jury term, or until they agree to testify.

Citing court documents, the Chronicle said the grand jury could be in session until October 2007.

Fainaru-Wada and Williams wrote a series of articles in 2004 quoting grand jury testimony by athletes that they had used performance-enhancing substances that prosecutors said were illegal steroids supplied by the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative.

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