Two San Francisco Chronicle reporters were ordered jailed Thursday for a maximum 18 months, pending an appeal, for refusing to testify about who leaked them secret grand jury testimony from Barry Bonds and other elite athletes.
Lance Williams and Mark Fainaru-Wada (above) published a series of articles and a book based partly on the leaked transcripts of the testimony of Bonds, Jason Giambi and others before a grand jury investigating the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative, a Burlingame-based nutritional supplement company exposed as a steroid ring two years ago.
Federal prosecutors asked U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White to send the reporters to prison for the full term of the grand jury investigating the leak, or until they agree to testify.
Williams and Fainaru-Wada have said repeatedly they would go to jail rather than comply with the grand jury’s subpoena and reveal their source or sources.
Both sides agreed to stay the ruling by White pending an appeal to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
The reporters agreed with the government that they are in contempt of court, but had sought a “nominal monetary fine” and other punishment “short of full blown incarceration,” including house arrest and weekend jailing, according to court documents.