Troy Ellerman is Source of BALCO Leaks
Yahoo! News has reported that defense attorney, Troy Ellerman, lawyer for BALCO president Victor Conte (briefly) and vice-president James Valente, was the source of the BALCO grand jury documents published and expounded upon by San Francisco Chronicle reporters, Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams in December 2004.
Larry McCormack, a former private investigator who worked on the BALCO federal steroids case and a co-tenant of an office with Ellerman in Sacramento, Calif. where the two worked together on cases in 2004 told Yahoo (and the FBI) that Ellerman was the source of the leaks.
McCormick’s role in the investigation has been scrutinized because he did not come forward until he was fired by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, he was the Executive Director, a position that Ellerman helped him get.
McCormick said that he aided an FBI investigation into the matter by providing first-hand information about Ellerman and Fainaru-Wada, even wearing a wire during conversations with Ellerman, presumably to corroborate his story.
McCormick cited a moral obligation as his motives for outing Ellerman.
“I felt it was wrong, I said it was wrong from the get-go.”
As for why he waited so long to come forward, McCormick said that as the government intensified its investigation, he began to worry that he could be charged with a crime for failing to report evidence to a federal grand jury.
According to Yahoo, McCormick recounted a confrontation with Ellerman in 2004 after McCormick saw an article in the Chronicle which contained parts of Tim Montgomery’s confidential testimony.
“What in the hell are you doing?” McCormack said he asked. “Man, this is nuts. I don’t know why you dragged me into this.”
(Ellerman) said, “Don’t worry about it. They (the reporters) won’t testify.”
McCormick says he spoke to Yahoo in an effort to salvage a career in the professional rodeo industry. Had McCormick stayed silent he would surely be perceived as disgruntled over his dismissal from a position that Ellerman helped him get. Not only would that tarnish his potential testimony in the BALCO probe, but finding gainful employment in any industry after helping the FBI investigate your former boss would be tough.
The story also throws a major kink into Barry Bonds’ lawyer’s public lobbying/threatening of the government over Bonds’ potential perjury and tax evasion charges. Bonds’ lawyer, Michael Rains, quickly responded to the story saying that he didn’t believe Ellerman was the source of the leaks because Ellerman would not have had access to some of the information that was reported by the chronicle.
“I find that hard to believe to begin with, that Troy (Ellerman) would do that, but obviously I don’t know the man very well, and the first time I met him was in connection with this case.”
“I’ve always thought it was people within the government that have leaked this stuff, and I still believe it.”
In an effort to corroborate the fact that an investigation was taking place, Yahoo also talked with two other people who said they were interviewed by the FBI regarding Ellerman’s role in the leaks, but both declined to be identified in the story.