Lawyer Probed By FBI As Possible Leaker in BALCO Case

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A lawyer who worked for BALCO founder Victor Conte is being investigated by the FBI as the source of leaked federal grand jury testimony in the steroids case, according to a Yahoo.com report.

Private investigator Larry McCormack, who worked for Conte in the early stages of the BALCO case, told the FBI that defense lawyer Troy Ellerman gave the confidential information to a San Francisco Chronicle reporter in 2004, Yahoo.com reported.

?We do have an investigation on those allegations that he (Ellerman) was responsible for the leak,? FBI spokesman Joe Schadler told The Associated Press.

Ellerman also represented Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative vice president James Valente. He and Conte pleaded guilty in 2005 to distributing steroids.

McCormack, former executive director of the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame, told Yahoo he contacted the FBI on the advice of his attorney about three months ago, after he was fired from the Colorado Springs, Colo. hall of fame. Ellerman, who serves as commissioner of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, helped him get the job, but McCormack denied he identified the lawyer as the source of the leak in retaliation for his firing.

?I felt it was wrong,? McCormack told Yahoo.com of the leaks. ?I said it was wrong from the get-go.?

Ellerman refused to talk to Yahoo about McCormack’s allegations and could not be reached by phone Thursday by the AP.

McCormack said Ellerman leaked testimony to Chronicle reporter Mark Fainaru-Wada.

Fainaru-Wada and reporter Lance Williams, who have spearheaded the newspaper’s coverage of steroid use, face up to 18 months in prison for refusing to reveal how they obtained the 2003 grand jury testimony of Giants’ slugger Barry Bonds and other elite athletes.

Williams and Fainaru-Wada declined to comment on the report, saying they were standing by a commitment to protect their sources.

McCormack said FBI agents had him secretly record conversations with Ellerman.

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