Monday, March 31, 2008

Conte to Tell-All

Just what you've been waiting for:

[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.

Just something to ad to my list of reasons why I think Barry, as he has done so many times before, will walk.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


I actually bumped into Mr. Conte late at night at the Target in Foster City (Foster City is close to Burlingame) about three years ago. Needless to say he wouldn't comment on anything regarding the allegations or the investigations. Even though he was surprised that anyone recognized him that late at night (which I'm sure was why he was there at that hour), he was very polite and disciplined, and maintained good eye contact.

But he did have a little cheshire cat going on behind his own eyes, like he knew something I didn't, which undoubtedly was true, especially at this time before "Game of Shadows" was out.

I somehow doubt we'll get the complete "tell all" in this first book. I think he'll hold back, like he did then. He might be planning a Harry Potter-like series, at least as long as the interest holds.

On another note, I saw Shyster's favorite team, the Giants, in their final tune up yesterday against the A's.

In addition to their other woes, the loss of Pedro Feliz is going to cost them a few additional losses during the year. The A's, who never bunt, led off the game with a bunt single by Buck that the Giants 3B (Castillo) never touched. Two innings later Denorfia, replacing Buck, also bunted to third and reached as the ball was mishandled. The play was ruled, rightly, as a single. The A's went on to win 7-2, allowing only 1 earned run by their # 5 starter Dana Eveland and hitting two HR's to zero by the punchless Giants.

No offense, weak defense, and questionable relief-still, McGowan expects to draw 3,000,000 to AT & T Park this year. Maybe they will. They drew 26,000 yesterday on a perfect Sunday afternoon. But I think even the tourists will balk at seeing a team this bad.