[Victor] Conte, who has remained mostly silent as the government, the media and the athletes involved have examined, analyzed and dissected the most explosive drug case in sports history, says he will now tell his side of the story. Slated for publication in September under the Skyhorse imprint, the book's working title is "BALCO: The Straight Dope on Barry Bonds, Marion Jones and What We Can Do To Save Sports." Conte, in conjunction with co-author Nathan Jendrick, promises to share "the dirt, the drugs, the doses, the names, dates and places, and a 'prescription' for a brighter future."
I'll be sure to clear my calendar. Or not. Anyway, this is more interesting:
One of Conte's biggest targets is likely to be Jeff Novitzky, the federal agent who sniffed out the BALCO conspiracy in 2003 and has tenaciously chased down every twist in it ever since. Conte claims Novitzky, who is on the witness stand Monday in the government's prosecution of cyclist Tammy Thomas (the first BALCO athlete to refuse a plea bargain and take her case to trial), fabricated a confession he says Conte gave on the day of the BALCO raid, and lied in court documents . . .
. . . Novitzky faces cross-examination Monday by Thomas' attorney, who may attack the credibility of the secretive agent and uncover weaknesses that lawyers for Barry Bonds can exploit when Bonds goes to trial next year. Novitzky was also the subject of an internal investigation by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) for leaking confidential investigative information about the case and for missing evidence, according to Conte.
If Conte is right about that, Novitzky is a damaged witness. How damaged? Well, I suppose we'll see after Tammy Thomas' lawyers cross-examine him.
Not that he has to be damaged all that much for Barry Bonds' attorneys to make hay out of it. Remember: while Bonds may be a pariah in the rest of the country, he's still quite popular in the places from which the jury pool will be drawn. Like another California jury in a high profile case, a jury standing in judgment of Barry Bonds could be inordinately swayed by even the slightest evidence of police shenanigans. At the very least, it's something I'd be worried about if I were prosecuting this case.