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Strong Granted Immunity to Testify About His Customers in Drug Case

January 15, 1986|United Press International

PITTSBURGH — Curtis Strong, who was convicted of selling cocaine to major league baseball players, has been granted immunity to testify before a federal grand jury about his customers and sources.

U.S. District Judge Gustave Diamond approved the immunity grant for Strong, who then testified for an hour and 25 minutes before the grand jury.

Diamond, citing laws requiring secrecy in grand jury proceedings, excluded the public and reporters from the courtroom while he considered the immunity request. Several news organizations said they would file legal briefs asking for a copy of the transcript of the proceedings.

The grand jury is not the one that indicted Strong and six other men on charges that they sold cocaine to ballplayers. It was not known who or what this panel is investigating.

Shelby Greer, 29, one of Strong's co-defendants, was expected to testify before the grand jury later in the week.

Adam Renfroe Jr., Strong's attorney, said Strong and Greer rode the same bus last week from the federal correctional institution in Danbury, Conn., where they are serving 12-year sentences. Strong, 39, a former caterer of the Philadelphia Phillies, and Greer were brought to Pittsburgh by the U.S. attorney's office.

Strong was convicted in September during a trial that indicated widespread cocaine use among major league baseball players. Seven baseball players testified against Strong under grants of immunity, including five who said they bought cocaine from him from 1980 to 1984.

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