SAN FRANCISCO — A San Francisco newspaper has leaked grand jury testimony from Triangle resident and sprinter Tim Montgomery in which he reportedly admits using performance-enhancing drugs.
Montgomery, the world record holder in the 100 meters, has repeatedly denied using steroids, and his lawyers are furious over the leak.
Both Montgomery and his girlfriend, former University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill star Marion Jones, are under investigation for steroid use. Both have repeatedly denied using performance-enhancing drugs.
Montgomery was one of several sprinters who received a letter Wednesday from the
United States Anti-Doping Agency
warning that they face punishment for alleged steroid use. Montgomery, who faces a lifetime ban from the sport, is expected to contest the ban at an arbitration hearing.
When he told a federal grand jury about his steroid use, Montgomery probably expected his testimony to stay secret -- at least until the investigation went to trial. But then someone decided to leak the secret testimony to the
San Francisco Chronicle,
which reported Thursday that, contrary to his public denials, the world's fastest sprinter admitted under threat of perjury that he had used performance-enhancing drugs.
His lawyers -- and representatives of the other elite athletes and trainers implicated in the steroid probe -- were livid over the leak. Several called for a federal investigation.
Montgomery testified that he used human growth hormone and an undetectable steroid.
The newspaper's report includes direct quotes from Montgomery's testimony to the federal grand jury. The Chronicle did not say how it obtained the information.
It is illegal to give grand jury testimony to the media. Prosecutors did not return calls asking if they would launch an investigation.
"No one can legally or legitimately have Tim's grand jury testimony, and if they think they have it, I would like to see it," Montgomery's attorney, Cristina Arguedas, said in a statement. "Otherwise, there's no way I can respond to these blind allegations, and I'm not going to comment on it."
The release of the testimony could be cause for concern for some of the dozens of elite athletes who testified in front of the grand jury under threat of perjury.
Jones' attorney, Joseph Burton, said the unauthorized leak is an "extremely serious matter" and "potentially a criminal offense."
Jones has asked for her own grand jury testimony to be released.
"We have from the beginning hoped and, indeed asked, for Marion's grand jury testimony to be made public," Burton said, "because we know that it will confirm what she has said publicly and has been confirmed by a polygraph examination: She has never, ever used performance-enhancing drugs."
Jones and Montgomery have a child together and live near Raleigh, N.C.
Though distributing grand jury transcripts to the media is illegal, it is very difficult to prove, said Douglas Kmiec, a Pepperdine University School of Law professor.
"The party receiving the information is normally a member of the press and has a journalistic duty not to disclose sources," Kmiec said. "The government then has to find the source of the leak itself, and that tends to be very difficult."
Lawyers for track coach Remi Korchemny, one of the four men indicted in the BALCO investigation, said the government gave the defendants transcripts of most of the grand jury testimony after the indictments came down in February.
But they said the documents were under protective order and never should have leaked.
"Isolated parts of the case get presented to the public, which is unfair because that may be a small part of the story," said attorney Alan Dressler, who represents Korchemny. "We don't want to try the case in the press, so its always troublesome when that is released."
Attorneys for Conte and BALCO vice president James Valente -- the two other men indicted -- did not return calls for comment.
Montgomery reportedly testified Nov. 6, 2003, that in 2001, Conte gave him weekly doses of human growth hormone and a substance called "the clear" -- which Montgomery referred to as a "magic potion."
Montgomery set a world record of 9.78 seconds in the 100 meters in 2002.
"The clear" was later determined to be THG, a previously undetectable steroid at the center of the BALCO scandal, which threatens to keep some of America's top sprinters out of the Athens Olympics.