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Tag: Steroids

Charges Dropped Against 3 FBI Agents and an Analyst in Steroid Case

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Charges have been dropped against three Washington area FBI agents and an analyst who were accused of covering up use of steroids and human growth hormones.

In federal court on Wednesday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office filed a one-page document dismissing the charges without prejudice, leaving open the possibility of new charges down the road as the probe continues. One factor in the dismissal was the pressure of bringing the trial in a timely manner as authorities continue to sift through a mound of evidence.

Special Agent James Barnett of Alexandria,Va., counterterrorism analyst Ali Sawan of Sterling,Va., and Special Agents Katia and Matthew Litton, who are married and live in McLean, Va., were charged with making false statements in an annual fitness report.

“The case against the four FBI employees was dismissed without prejudice and the government retains the option to seek charges at a later date, ” said Bill Miller, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington. ”   He said the investigation into the matter is continuing, but he  declined to comment on the reasons for the dismissal.

The agents were charged in September with providing false statements after they allegedly failed to disclose on government forms the use of anabolic steroids and human growth hormones commonly taken in the sports and bodybuilding world, authorities announced today. One agent is a former bodybuilder.

Authorities said the FBI employees received different diagnoses from a doctor, including “pituitary dwarfism” — a stunted-growth condition normally diagnosed in children — and then got numerous prescriptions for the steroids and growth drugs for “which there was no known medical necessity.”

Steroids Had Plenty of Victims

The author (right) Greg Stejsal and Michigan coach Bo Schembechler

The author (right) Greg Stejsal and Michigan coach Bo Schembechler

By Greg Stejskal
ticklethewire.com

“Say it ain’t so, Rocket.”

(“Say it ain’t so, Joe.” Reported words of a young fan to Shoeless Joe Jackson after the Black Sox gambling scandal.)

Roger Clemens may have lied under oath in front of a Congressional committee regarding the use of steroids during his baseball career, but so what? Couldn’t our prosecutorial resources be used for more important things?

In the late 1980s and early 90s, as an FBI agent (now retired), who helped shepherd the largest steroid investigation in history, similar questions were posed to me. Why should we pursue the illegal distribution of steroids?

In 1989, University of Michigan head football coach Bo Schembechler and his strength coach, Mike Gittleson, shared a big concern.

They believed steroid use was becoming pervasive in college football. Their concern was not only that some players and teams were getting a competitive advantage but that high school players were beginning to think that steroid use was a necessary and accepted practice in getting to the next level.

Bo and Mike knew that steroids were an effective performance-enhancing drug, but could also cause very serious health problems. Not the least of these is severe depression. I learned of numerous cases of young, aspiring athletes who committed suicide after using steroids. (One of those suicides was the son of an FBI agent I knew.) I also thought of my own daughter and son, who, at the time, were beginning to participate in sports. Would they be faced with the choice of having to use steroids in order to reach their athletic goals?

Many believe steroid use is a victim-less crime. It’s not. Using steroids or other performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) affect the very integrity of the sport in which they are used. I see three sets of victims. The first is the players who choose to remain clean but must compete against the “enhanced” players. The other victims are aspiring athletes who use PEDs to continue pursuing their sport, or become disillusioned and quit. The third victim is the fan – more on that just ahead.

When we began our steroid investigation, dubbed Operation Equine, our goal was to pursue the steroid dealers, not the users. We reasoned prosecutors would have little interest in going after users whether they be gym rats or professional athletes. However, in retrospect, perhaps the only way to snag the media’s attention would have been to arrest celebrity athletes. We were also stunned when Major League Baseball stifled a yawn when presented with facts about all their “juiced” players.

Our investigative team was faced with a quandary when one of the dealers we arrested told us he had been supplying Jose Canseco and other members of the then Oakland A’s. (Later we learned one of those A’s was Mark McGwire.) No doubt, these are headline-generating names. For the reasons outlined above, we chose to pursue this dealer’s suppliers, not the star players/users.

It was way back in 1994 that information about the players’ use of steroids was given to the office of the Commissioner of Major League Baseball. It was ignored for nearly a decade. Yes, nothing happened for nearly 10 years until Canseco himself became the messenger. (Ironically, the U.S. Attorney’s office in northern California didn’t deem steroid dealing a crime worthy of prosecution at the time. What might have happened had they prosecuted the Oakland A’s dealer there, the future home of BALCO?)

If Roger Clemens did use steroids, the ramifications were far greater than just a high profile athlete using a substance to enhance his performance. The past and future are forever altered. Here’s where the Fan as a Victim enters the picture. In baseball, perhaps more than in any other sport, you not only compete with your contemporaries but against players from the past through statistics. These statistical achievements have long been considered sacrosanct, the lifeblood of every baseball fanatic.

These numbers transcend generations of players and fans. Thus, the use of PEDs not only potentially alters the final score, but has, to some extent, destroyed the integrity of those precious stats. Maybe more importantly, when star athletes turn to PEDs, they inadvertently encourage the same behavior by young aspiring athletes who seek to emulate their heroes.

People may argue about whether Congress should be involved in these issues, but persons testifying in front of Congressional committees under oath must tell the truth. Or invoke the protection of the 5th Amendment. To do otherwise renders the whole process a farce.

Ironically, if Clemens had used steroids during his career and admitted it, he most likely wouldn’t have been prosecuted. However, he now faces a serious charge of perjury, and perhaps worse – a tarnished career that no stellar statistic can ever repair.

It goes beyond just saying it ain’t so.

3 FBI Agents and Analyst Lied About Taking Steroids, Feds Charge

steroid-needle
By Allan Lengel
For AOL News

WASHINGTON — Three FBI agents and an agency analyst in the Washington area were charged with providing false statements after they allegedly failed to disclose on government forms the use of anabolic steroids and human growth hormones commonly taken in the sports and bodybuilding world, authorities announced today. One agent is a former bodybuilder.

Authorities said the FBI employees received different diagnoses from a doctor, including “pituitary dwarfism” — a stunted-growth condition normally diagnosed in children — and then got numerous prescriptions for the steroids and growth drugs for “which there was no known medical necessity.”

Those charged are James Drew Barnett, 42, and Katia Litton, 42, both FBI agents in the Washington field office; Litton’s husband, FBI agent Matthew Litton, who works for the bureau’s Critical Incident Response Team in northern Virginia; and Ali Sawan, 45, an intelligence analyst with the Counterterrorism Division at FBI headquarters. The FBI did not immediately disclose the status of the four employees, who were arrested today at FBI facilities.

If convicted, each would face up to five years in prison and $250,000 in fines.

To read more click here.

S.F. U.S. Attorney’s Office Gets Bad News in Barry Bonds Case

Barry Bonds/facebook
Barry Bonds/facebook

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Home run slugger Barry Bonds just keeps knocking them out of the park in the legal arena.

On Friday, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco upheld a federal judge’s ruling that bars three steroid tests from being introduced into his perjury case, a ruling that will weaken the federal government’s case, the San Franciso Chronicle reported. And it could potentially spell the end to the case for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in San Francisco.

Bonds, 45, had told a federal grand jury in 2003 he had never knowingly taken performance enhancing drugs. He was indicted in 2008 for perjury and obstruction of justice.

The court, in a 2-1 ruling,  barred the evidence because Bond’s trainer Greg Anderson, who had arranged the tests, refused to testify against Bonds, resulting in no valid evidence that Bond was the source of samples for the tests,  the San Francisco Chronicle wrote.

The prosecution had delayed the case pending the ruling on the evidence.

Dennis Riordan, a lawyer for Bonds, told the Chronicle that the delay in trial was a concession by the prosecution that it “could not proceed against Mr. Bonds in a jury trial without the evidence that’s now been excluded.”

“We hope that this puts the entire prosecution to rest,” Riordan said.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office does have other evidence in the case, the Chronicle reported. It said the office declined comment on the ruling.

To read more click here.

Read Court Opinion

Jose Conseco Says Fed Grand Jury into Roger Clemens Waste of Taxpayers’ Money

Jose Conseco/abc news

Jose Conseco/abc news

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON – Jose Conseco, — who is described in the New York Daily News as a “now broke former ballplayer” — emerged from a grand jury in Washington on Thursday and had a few words about the investigation into whether former pitcher Roger Clemens perjured himself before Congress about taking steroids or performance enhancing drugs.

“It’s ridiculous,” Canseco said, after testifying two hours, the Daily News reported. “There’s got to be better ways to spend taxpayer money.”

The paper said he sharply criticized Clemen’s chief accuser Brian McNamee.

“He’s an absolute liar and I challenge him to a polygraph,” said Canseco, according to the Daily News. He said Conseco also never asked him for steroids.

Canseco also said  Clemens never asked him for steroids or told him he had used performance-enhancing drugs.

To read more click here.

Grand Jury Probe Into Baseball Star Roger Clemens Still Alive

steroid-needleBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Signs of life in the perjury investigation into seven-time Cy Young winner Roger Clemens surfaced Tuesday when a key witness in the case testified before a federal grand jury in Washington, the AP reported.

Clemen’s former personal trainer Brian McNamee spent more than 2 1/2 hours inside the U.S. District Courthouse where the grand jury conducts business, AP reported.

Authorities are investigating whether the baseball star lied to Congress in 2008 when he said he hadn’t taken steroids or human growth hormones.

To read more click here.

Retired FBI Agent Says Baseball Slugger Mark McGwire Used Steroids

Greg Stejskal

Greg Stejskal

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON — Ticklethewire.com’s own columnist Greg Stejskal is stirring up a little controversy in major league baseball.

The retired Michigan FBI agent, who became one of  the FBI’s expert on steroid use in sports, told the N.Y. Daily News earlier this week that one time slugger Mark McGwire used some type of steroids while he played.

“The FBI agent who led a landmark steroid investigation said investigators obtained information that former home run king Mark McGwire – who is ending a self-imposed exile to return to the St. Louis Cardinals as the team’s hitting coach – had used performance-enhancing drugs in the early 1990s,” The Daily News reported in Monday’s edition.

“We had information, after Operation Equine had finished, that we believed to be credible info that McGwire did in fact use steroids,” Stejskal told the Daily News. “And then you look at the physical changes. Based on a certain amount of expertise, his physical development would indicate steroid use.”

The St. Louis Cardinals announced Monday that McGwire will join the coaching staff.

Appeals Court Rules Feds Illegally Seized Drug Tests of Major League Baseball Players

istock photo

istock photo

Things have not gone so well when it comes to the federal government’s probe into illegal use of steroids in major league baseball. The Barry Bonds case appears to be going nowhere. And this ruling could hurt other possible cases.

By Maura Dolan and Lance Pugmire
Los Angeles Times

The federal government illegally seized confidential drug test results of dozens of Major League Baseball players and must now return the records, a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday.

“This was an obvious case of deliberate overreaching by the government in an effort to seize data” it was not entitled to have, Judge Alex Kozinski wrote for an 11-judge panel of the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.

During an investigation of illegal steroid sales by the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative, a private lab in Northern California known as BALCO, the government sought the results of confidential drug tests of 10 players, including former San Francisco Giants slugger Barry Bonds.

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