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Archive for Saturday, March 25, 2006

Judge denies Bonds’ bid to freeze book profits

March 25, 2006

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— A judge denied Barry Bonds' bid to block the authors and publishers from making money on a book claiming the San Francisco Giants slugger used steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs, and said Bonds' suit against them had little chance of success.

Bonds' attorneys argued that the authors, publisher Gotham Books, the San Francisco Chronicle and Sports Illustrated, which published excerpts of the book, should be held liable for publishing "illegally obtained grand jury transcripts."

The book, "Game of Shadows," by Chronicle reporters Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams, is based partly on grand jury testimony from a federal investigation into the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative, where Bonds and several other major-league players allegedly obtained performance-enhancing drugs.

But Judge James Warren refused to issue a temporary restraining order against the authors and publisher, citing free speech protections. And though he did not throw out the lawsuit, Warren said it had little chance of success.

Meanwhile, Bonds' attorneys also sent a letter Friday to U.S. District Judge Susan Illston demanding that the writers and publishers be held liable.

"The true victim is not Barry Bonds, but the sanctity and integrity of the grand jury process," attorney Alison Berry Wilkinson wrote.

The book claims Bonds used steroids, human growth hormone, insulin and other banned substances for at least five seasons beginning in 1998.

"We fully stand behind our reporting of the book," Fainaru-Wada said.

"We certainly stand by our reporters and the reporting they did for us," Chronicle executive vice president and editor Phil Bronstein said. "Nothing that's happened will change that."

Spokeswoman Lisa Johnson said publisher Gotham Books supported both authors.

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