The U.S. attorney's office in San Francisco issued a statement Monday questioning the accuracy of a Los Angeles Times report published over the weekend. The story identified Major League Baseball players whose names had been blacked out of a drug investigation affidavit filed this year in federal court.
The Times report described a search warrant affidavit signed by an IRS special agent investigating drug use in professional baseball. The affidavit, based on statements to investigators allegedly made by relief pitcher Jason Grimsley, implicated a number of his former teammates as users of performance-enhancing drugs. Grimsley acknowledged using the drugs himself, according to the affidavit.
All the players' names were blacked out when the affidavit was made public in June, prompting speculation in the baseball world over who was listed. The Times consulted two sources familiar with the contents of the affidavit, including one with authorized access to the document who confirmed names to a reporter.
In its published report, The Times said that among those who had been named by Grimsley, according to the affidavit, were Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte, Miguel Tejada, Jay Gibbons and Brian Roberts. The story said Grimsley told investigators that former Yankees trainer Brian McNamee referred him to a source for steroids and amphetamines.
U.S. Atty. Kevin V. Ryan, who is leading the investigation, issued a brief statement Monday:
"In view of the recent reports purporting to identify certain athletes whose names had been redacted from the government's search warrant filings in the Grimsley matter, and in the interest of justice, please be advised that these reports contain significant inaccuracies."
Through a spokesman, Ryan declined to answer any questions and would not disclose what names, if any, or other aspects of the story were among the alleged significant inaccuracies.
The Times responded with its own statement late Monday: "We take seriously that the U.S. attorney's office has questioned our story. We are continuing to report on this important subject."