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4-Month Sentence Sought for Conte

The recommendation by the prosecutors in the BALCO case follows the July plea agreement.

October 04, 2005|Alan Abrahamson | Times Staff Writer

Victor Conte, at the center of the BALCO sports-doping scandal, deserves four months behind bars, federal prosecutors said in court documents filed Monday that retraced allegations of doping by baseball slugger Barry Bonds, track star Marion Jones and others.

Prosecutors, in keeping with a plea agreement struck in July, also said they were seeking an additional four months' house arrest for Conte, saying he "bears a heavy responsibility for the chain of events that led to this prosecution."

Sentencing is set for Oct. 18 in federal court in San Francisco. Conte is due today to file his own sentencing memorandum. U.S. District Judge Susan Illston can sentence as she sees fit.

Conte, 55, has pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute steroids and one of laundering a portion of a check. Bonds' personal trainer, Greg Anderson, also has pleaded guilty to the same charges.

The Bay Area Laboratory Co-operative scandal erupted in 2003, and the investigation apparently is continuing. Last week, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, federal agents raided the laboratory and home of an Illinois chemist, Patrick Arnold, named in an Internal Revenue Service report as the reputed source of one of the steroids at the heart of the BALCO matter, a liquid code-named "the clear."

That report, written by IRS special agent Jeff Novitzky, originally made public in an October 2004 court filing and refiled Monday, recounts Novitzky's interview with Conte on Sept. 3, 2003, amid a search by law enforcement agents at the BALCO lab in Burlingame, Calif.

If the case had gone to trial, that memo was expected to come under considerable defense attack, for it spells out Conte's purported assertion that he gave performance-enhancing substances to 28 professional athletes.

The memo declares: "Barry Bonds was one of the players that Anderson brought to Conte to obtain 'the clear' and 'the cream,' " adding, "Bonds takes 'the clear' and 'the cream' on a regular basis."

"The cream" was code for another steroid.

The memo also says, "The protocol for using the substances is two times per week for 'the clear' and two times per week for 'the cream.' The athletes do this for three weeks, then take one week off."

Bonds, according to grand jury testimony obtained by the Chronicle, testified that he had received a cream and a clear substance from Anderson but thought he was using arthritis balm and flaxseed oil.

The memo also says that Conte gave Jones, winner of five medals at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, "the clear" and "the cream" in exchange for her endorsement of a zinc-based Conte nutritional supplement.

Last December, Conte appeared on ABC's "20/20" and said he not only had supplied banned substances to her but had watched her inject herself with human growth hormone.

Jones has repeatedly denied the use of illicit performance-enhancing substances.

She has sued Conte for defamation in civil court.

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