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Every scandal begins with a lie. But the truth will come out. And then comes the fallout and the outrage.
Scandals have shaped America since its founding. From business and politics to sports and society, we look on aghast as corruption, deceit and ambition bring down heroes and celebrities, politicians and moguls. And when the dust finally settles, we’re left to wonder: how did this happen? Where did they trip up, and who is to blame? From the creators of American History Tellers, Business Wars and Tides of History comes American Scandal, where we take you deep into the heart of America’s dark side to look at what drives someone to break the rules and what happens when they’re caught. Hosted by Lindsay Graham.
Tue, 02 Oct 2018 07:05
The raid on BALCO succeeds beyond Agent Novitzky’s wildest dreams. He gets all the evidence he needs to prove that some of the top athletes in the world have cheated their way to records and medals. But Barry Bonds isn’t going down without a fight and neither is Marion Jones. And when confidential testimony gets leaked to the press, all hell breaks loose.
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It's September 3rd, 2003. A day special agent Jeff Niewitsky has spent the last year preparing for. A few hours ago, 24 armed agents swarmed Balco headquarters, looking for evidence that it's founder Victor Conti is supplying the world's most elite athletes with illegal performance enhancing drugs. And, Relaygents, we have a search warrant. Everybody, show me your hands. Conti was remarkably cooperative as the agents raided his office and confiscated reams documents. Now, he's taking the agents to his storage unit and is giving them the grant tool. Here you go, gentlemen. This is where we store our products. Those bottles over there are human growth hormone. This is Testosterone and here is THG, which we call the clear. I already mentioned Patrick Arnold, the chemist who makes this forest, right? Brilliant guy. I'm sure he is Victor. You're obviously a brilliant guy too. Well, thank you officer. No, how do you say it? Niewitsky, Jeff Niewitsky. IRS agent Jeff Niewitsky is pinching himself so hard he's bruised. After all of his knights dumped her diving, he undercover operations, the surveillance, the search warrant and the race to identify a mysterious new steroid. He's finally executed his raid on Baco Headquarters. And Victor Conti couldn't be more cooperative. When they raided Baco Headquarters a few hours ago, he proudly showed them photos of himself with Barry Collins, named 27 famous clients, including track stars Mary and Jones and Tim Montgomery. He confirmed that he gave them all performance enhancing drugs in exchange for their endorsement of his mineral supplement, ZMA. He's also shared payment records and test results. He's even shown the agent's doping calendars and explained what the cryptic codes on them stand for. And now, he's willingly taken them to Baco Storage Locker, which is packed with banned performance enhancing drugs. It's like a drug lord saying, here's a list of all my famous customers. Now let me show you where I've hidden a thousand pounds of cocaine. So agent Niewitsky is puzzled. Can Victor Conti really be this stupid? After all, he taught himself every detail of the science behind performance enhancing drugs. Conti isn't stupid, but he is deeply flawed. He craves recognition for his accomplishments. His clients have won gold medals and set world records, but not one of them, has stood before the world and said, I owe it all to Victor Conti. Of course, if they did, they'd have to add in all the illegal performance enhancing drugs he gave me. So when two dozen officers from five different agencies swarm his business and reveal they've been following his every move for over a year, it's a recognition of sorts. At least someone is giving him credit for his accomplishments, even if they want to arrest him. Niewitsky and Conti step outside while the agent's bag and labeled the contents of the storage locker. Conti looks up at the sky. You even got a chopper? You think I'm going to lead you on some low speed chase like OJ? Hey, did you know that I met Johnny Cochran? We got along really well. That's not one of ours. Looks like a news chopper. How would the news find out about this? Anyway, so Victor, how did you meet Barry Bonds? Through his trainer, Greg Anderson, calls himself the Wake Guru. It's even on his license plate, W.A. Guru. Get it? Wake Guru? He works out of World Jim right down the road from here. World Jim happens to be the next stop on Niewitsky's Itinerary, and he can't stop smiling. When he takes Victor Conti in his whole operation down, a lot of metals are going to get provoked. But at this moment, Niewitsky feels like someone should be giving him a gold medal. But he's going to find that the race to the end will be longer and more grueling than he can ever imagine. If you're into true crime, the Generation Y podcast is essential listening. We started this podcast over 10 years ago to dissect some of the craziest and most notable murders, crimes, and conspiracy theories together, and we'd love for you to join us. Follow the Generation Y podcast on Amazon Music or wherever you listen to podcasts. I'm Wondry, I'm Lindsey Graham, and this is American Scandal. This is the fourth episode in our five part series on a scandal that rocked the sports world to the core. In our last episode, Balco Founder Victor Conti and Track Coach Trevor Graham have turned on each other. Graham sent a syringe with residue of one of Conti's designer steroids to the US anti doping agency. It set off a frantic race to identify the truck and bust any athletes who are using it. Then USADA discovered that the feds are investigating Balco as well. This is episode four, Liars and Leaks. The Navitsky's agents fill 13 evidence bags with drugs from Balco storage locker. Then Navitsky and two of his men head to world gym. There they find Barry Bond's trainer, Greg Anderson, and inform him there about to execute a search warrant on his car and his home. Navitsky asks Anderson if he'd like to be present for the search. Anderson's girlfriend is at his condo. She'll freak out if agents burst in, so he goes along. When he enters, instead of calling out, hi honey, I'm home, he tells her, the Balco thing has followed me here, as the agents begin tearing the play support. Anderson is 510, 225 pounds, and covered with tattoos. Not the sort of man who's easily intimidated, but right now he's sweating, as he nervously answers agent Navitsky's questions. Yes, he deals in drugs like human growth hormone, but he sells them to his clients at cost. He presents himself as an honest guy doing the best for his clients. Any figures, if he's not making a profit, he's not a drug dealer. That excuse goes out the window though, when one of Navitsky's men discovers a safe above the microwave oven. It contains $66,923 in cash. Navitsky and Anderson face off across the kitchen table. Navitsky glances at the pile of freshly counted cash, then stares hard at Anderson, letting him squirm before finally asking the obvious question. Mr. Anderson, that's a lot of cash to keep in your kitchen, isn't it? It's money I've earned from my training clients. I've been saving up for a few years to put down a down payment on a house. Let's talk about these file folders if my men just found. I see drug names, dosages, when he was administered, these are doping calendars, right? They're, I'm not sure what they are, not sure, but each folder has a name on it. You've got Armando Rios, Jason Gianbi, these are your clients, right, Mr. Anson? Yes, I train them. Oh, and this one says Barry Bonds. Yeah, I think I better stop talking now. While Anderson has clammed up, Victor Conti keeps talking to anyone who will listen. In a few days later, he's telling a completely different story from what he said during the raid. He doesn't deal in any band or illegal substances. He didn't name names. They never read him his rights. Niewitsky locked him in a room and spent hours pressuring him to wear a wire and backstab his clients. The question isn't what caused Conti to change his story so drastically, but who? And the answer is Troy Elliman. If you search for pictures of Troy Elliman, you'll find him either wearing a suit or a cowboy hat, sometimes both. That's because he's a rodeo cowboy, turned criminal defense lawyer. With pale blue eyes and a powerful frame, he comes across as kind and sincere. Elliman had met Conti briefly in 97 when he helped one of Conti's daughters get out of some legal trouble. Now, Conti has asked Elliman to represent him. And after spending some time with Conti, the lawyer in Elliman recognizes that Conti is brilliant. But the cowboy in him says this fella is a little bit nuts. He's not yet sure he wants to take the case. Conti proposes a defense strategy, but Conti has a strategy he thinks is even better. Athletes are going to cheat. After all, it's cheat or lose. They have no choice. So he's helping them by giving them the safest and most effective drugs. He has no choice. In fact, he'll write his autobiography and that will be the title, no choice. Elliman shakes his head and tells Conti the best strategy right now is to keep his mouth shut. Despite Elliman's advice, Conti calls Jeff Nabitsky, not once, but several times in the days after the raid. He complains he and his clients are being hounded by the press. He's afraid to go to the Balko office. His athletes are all asking him what they should do. Nabitsky gives Conti two simple pieces of advice. Tell the truth and don't do anything to obstruct the investigation. Immediately, Conti says to work lying and obstructing the investigation. He concocts cover stories for his athletes. If they're asked about taking the clear, they should say they thought it was flaxseed oil. There to insist that Conti never told them any of the drugs were illegal. And he reinterprets the codes on the doping calendars that Nabitsky seized as evidence. The letter C? No, that doesn't stand for it. The cream stands for vitamin C. And E is vitamin E, not EPO. Never mind that he is already told Nabitsky the truth. On news of the raid breaks, the media goes into high gear. They've reported on sports doping in the past, but finding evidence of which athletes are doing it has been difficult. Now, Conti has unwittingly provided them with plenty of leads. His website is plastered with photos of famous athletes touting the benefits of ZMA. Now, those testimonials look like admissions have killed. Reporters are knocking on doors and chasing every lead in the hopes of getting an exclusive scoop that an athlete is getting drugs from Balko. It's a constant topic of discussion on sports radio programs. Everyone's got an opinion and most people think that Balko clients are doping. Within a few days, defense attorney Ellerman has concluded that Conti is a Bronco he doesn't want to ride. Instead, he agrees to represent Jim Valente, Balko's vice president, and brings in Robert Holley to represent Conti. Holley is an experienced defense attorney, and he's no stranger to strange clients. He defended squeaky from when she was accused of attempting to assassinate President Gerald Ford. Ellerman is hopeful that Holley can handle Conti, and his instincts are sound. Holley and Conti bond quickly and spend hours reminiscing about the pot smoking music soaked wild days of their youth. Holley gives Conti the same advice he got from Ellerman. Lay low. But Conti still can't keep his mouth shut. He's obsessed with a notion that if he could just go on TV and tell his story, America will be on his side. Holley likes Conti, but there's no way he can defend someone who is determined to wreck his own pending case. Finally, at a lunch meeting in an old school diner near Balko, Holley has had enough. He's trapped in a sagging vinyl booth drinking wheat coffee while Conti talks and talks. But Bob, if people hear my story, they'll see this whole case as a sham. I'm not a rat. I had no choice. I provided a needed service. If I go on 60 minutes, OK, OK, Victor. Let's do a mock 60 minutes right here right now. Ready? Tick, tick, tick, tick. I'm Mike Wallace, and I'm here with Victor Conti, who has been accused of providing some of the world's mostly elite athletes with illegal performance enhancing drugs. Well, thank you, Mike, and let me say I'm a huge fan of the show. Now I had no choice in this. In fact, that's the title of my autobiography, which is available at the finest bookstore. Victor, focus. You're on 60 minutes. I'm Mike Wallace. All right, here we go. Victor, when your facility was rated, the authority sees thousands of doses of illegal performance enhancing drugs. Why did you have them? For testing purposes. I would test the efficacy of certain substances. Who would you test them on? Your clients? Yes. So you gave your clients illegal performance enhancing drugs? Yes. No. How do you give someone a theoretical injection of steroids, Mr. Conti? It's all explained in my book, which is available. Victor, stop. There's a legal term for witnesses like you. You know what it is? No. A freaking disaster. You're not going on 60 minutes, or 2020, or ESPN. You're not talking to the press at all. You're keeping your mouth shut, understood? More wise, but impossible advice. Being Victor, Conti has achieved up to now has been because of his gift of gab. He tells people what they want to hear. Even if it's a lie, he says it with such sincerity, it seems to be true. But now, he's trapped under a mountain of evidence. He's going to need a lot more than a silver tongue to dig his way out. What if your family was the victim of a home invasion? Or you woke up in the morgue, or you were seriously injured miles from help? What would you do? This is actually happening. Ask our listeners this very question, while we bring you captivating real life stories of trauma and perseverance. This is actually happening, brings listeners extraordinary true stories from the people who lived them. You'll hear stories about conflict, turmoil, or threats that dramatically alter the course of someone's life. Each episode is an exploration of the human spirit and how survivors manage to overcome hardship and move on with their lives, even thriving afterward. The new season of this is actually happening, is available ad free only with Wondry Plus. And if this new season isn't enough, you can listen to more than 120 exclusive episodes available only to Wondry Plus subscribers. Join Wondry Plus on Apple Podcasts or on the Wondry app. Things continue to get worse for Victor Conti. At the end of September 2003, a federal grand jury is convened. 36 subpoenas are issued, several of the athletes called Jeff Novitsky to confess and most of the confessions implicate Conti and Balco. Major League Baseball doesn't know what to say. Their worst nightmare has come true. For years, the sport has been under pressure to implement a real drug testing program and for years, they have done the minimum possible. Most players are tested just once a year and someone in the clubhouse always seems to know when. Now Barry Bonds, Gary Sheffield, and Jason Giambi, all of them baseball legends have been subpoenaed. The only good news is that grand jury testimony is secret. If players admit they've used performance enhancing drugs, their testimony will remain sealed and they won't be prosecuted. At least, that's how it's supposed to work. But if they lie during grand jury testimony and the government has evidence to contradict them, they can be prosecuted for perjury. But the prosecutors don't just go after the players. They subpoena the labs that do the testing and they demand not just the test results, but the actual urine samples. That means that despite the testing being anonymous, prosecutors can match the test results to the samples and identify the players who are doping. For the lawyers representing the players, it presents a challenge. Baseball officials make it clear that they don't want any players to commit perjury, but they also want the players to avoid giving any specific evidence that will help the government's case. It's a fine line to tread, but it gives the players an out. As long as they're truthful, they won't be prosecuted. The government is treating this case the same way they treat drug trafficking. They're not interested in prosecuting the users. They just want them to testify so that they can nail the drug kingpin. But this isn't like a routine drug trafficking case, and it's a stretch to call Victor Conti a drug kingpin. He doesn't have a fraction of the wealth of his biggest clients, and the athletes aren't like someone who bought a little cocaine to do a party. Doping has allowed athletes to win medals and break records. That in turn has earned the millions of dollars in winnings and endorsement deals, yet they're going to get immunity and let Conti take the fall. Conti certainly doesn't think that's fair, and neither do his lawyers. The media frenzy builds in mid October when Mark, Fainar, Wada, and Lance Williams, two veteran reporters for the San Francisco Chronicle, publish a series of Bacow Scoops. Through confidential informants, they confirm the rumors that have been swirling since the raid. The news is worse seized, a grand jury is investigating, and Barry Bond's has been subpoenaed. What was supposed to be secret is now public knowledge. Camera crews stake out the federal building, hoping to catch a glimpse of bonds or other star players on their way to the courtroom. On October 23rd, 2003, the grand jury begins hearing testimony. One of the first witnesses is Dr. Don Catlin, director of the UCLA Analytical Lab. He identified the previously undetectable steroid called the clear, the Conti has been giving his clients. Now his job is to educate the jury about performance enhancing drugs. It's an emotional moment for him. For the past two decades, he's been chasing down cheaters, trying to prove the doping is pervasive, and then a network of secret labs are engineering new and undetectable steroids. There were times of the years that he doubted himself. Now, here he is, testifying that his worst suspicions were true, and some of the greatest achievements in sports were made by athletes who were cheating. Sports will never be the same. Catlin is followed by a string of athletes, most of whom admit they've used performance enhancing drugs. Many of them implicate Victor Conti and Balco. Since their testimony is secret, they feel confident that nothing will happen to them. Tom resume lying immediately after leaving the courtroom, insisting they've never used any legal substances. Sprinter Tim Montgomery tells the grand jury that he took human growth hormone before breaking the record in the 100 meters. If USADA had that testimony, Montgomery would be stripped of his record and banned from competition. But the feds refuse to share the testimony, and that makes Terry Madden crazy. Terry Madden heads the US anti doping agency, which is responsible for drug testing Olympic athletes. Reporters know that USADA has some sort of parallel investigation in progress, and they push Madden to make a statement about it. Madden is frustrated. They are doing their own investigation. The Olympic trials are coming up, and they need to weed out the bad apples. They know that Conti's clients are cheating. A USADA staffer was even present at the Balco rate to help identify the drugs that were seized. They saw the evidence with his own eyes. But that evidence and the grand jury testimony belongs to the feds. It's part of their investigation and they won't share it. It puts Madden in a difficult position. Without hard evidence, they'll have to allow Balco clients like Marion Jones and Tim Montgomery to compete in the Olympics. If it later comes out that USADA knew they were cheating but didn't do anything, the agency's credibility will be shot. Not only is Madden being denied access to the testimony he needs, there's a lot of speculation in the press about what USADA is or isn't doing. So Madden decides to issue a press release followed by a teleconference with a national media. He'll announce that they've discovered THG, the previously undetectable steroid created by Patrick Arnold. He'll talk about what happened at the Balco rate. If nothing else, it will put athletes on notice that the Olympics are serious about drug testing and that cheaters will be caught. Without the US Attorney's office and USADA's lawyers get involved and vet what Madden can and can't say. The teleconference goes badly. Madden has solid evidence, one of his own men was present at the Balco rate. Afterward, the government even faxked him some of Conti's records and doping calendars, asking for help deciphering the codes. But as lawyers tell him he can't reveal any of this. As a result, he comes across his vague and evasive. When reporters ask him simple direct questions like, did Victor Conti give athletes THG? He responds that he's fairly certain he did. When they ask for evidence to back up the claim, Madden has to spin and equivocate. He ends up looking like the guilty party instead of Conti. Trying to improve the situation, on November 13th, Madden and a colleague fly to San Francisco to meet with the Balco prosecutors and plead their case. The prosecutors are noncommittal, leaving Madden even more frustrated. He returns to his office in Colorado Springs to find a letter waiting. The letter begins with a quote from Voltair, written in red ink, it's better to risk saving a guilty person than to condemn an innocent one. He's not sure what to make of it, but the next paragraph sends a chill up his spine. It reads, The only D.C. he can think of is Don Catlin and UCLA. And if this is a joke, it's definitely out of character. He gets Dr. Catlin on the phone. Catlin is a surprise and disturbed as Madden is. He didn't send the letter and knows nothing about it. Madden calls the Balco prosecutors and they take the threat seriously enough to bring in the FBI. Madden is spooked. He tells his wife to be careful letting their children play outside and he increases security at USADA headquarters. The author of the letter has never been identified. Just a few weeks later, Barry bonds a schedule to testify on December 4th. His lawyers have done mock trials with him and they've gone about as well as Conti's mock 60 minutes interview. Bond's is arrogant and quick tempered and his answers are convoluted and unconvincing. All his lawyers can do is to tell him to stay calm and reveal as little as possible and just hope he takes their advice. On December 4th at the Crack a Dawn, camera crews are already staking out the courthouse, hoping to catch a famous athlete on his way into the hearings. Bond's lawyer has asked the court to allow his client to enter the building as discreetly as possible. And oddly, the solution they come up with is that Bond's and his attorney would meet Jeff Novitsky about a mile from the courthouse and Novitsky will drive them there, entering through the underground parking garage. It's a short, strange trip. Bond's grumbles the entire way that the government has set him up and is trying to pin everything on him because of his fame. Bond's lawyer spends the trip praying for his client to shut up. Novitsky says nothing. They arrive two hours before Bond's is scheduled to testify because the prosecutors have promised Bond's and his lawyer an opportunity to examine the evidence against him before Bond's goes into testify. But when they arrive, the prosecutors announce the deal is off and give no explanation. Bond spends the next two hours swearing and seething. For his lawyer, it's a nightmare scenario. Witnesses in a grand jury proceeding aren't allowed to have their attorneys accompany them. Bond's will go into the courtroom alone. He's already volatile and hard to control. Now, he's like an enraged bull and every document the prosecutors waive at him will be a red cape. When Barry Bond's finally walks into the courtroom, things are already stacked against him. Normally, he would have three options on the stand. Tell the truth. Take the fifth or lie. But the government has offered him immunity in exchange for his testimony, taking the Fifth Amendment off the table. He can lie, but if another witness implicates him and he has no idea if someone already has, then he'll face perjury charges. His only real option is to tell the truth, but a version of the truth that tells as little as possible. His strategy is to portray himself as an innocent who accidentally don't. Inside the courtroom, the prosecutor waives documents and bottles of drugs seized during the Balka raid in front of Bond's face. OK, and this, we'll call this Exhibit 504. This is a bottle of Depotestosterone. And let me ask Mr. Bond's if you recognize this item as something that you've ever received. Or does that look like anything you've ever got from Greg Anderson? I have never ever seen that bottle or any bottle pertaining that says Depotestosterone. And other than me just reading from the label and telling you what it is, do you know what that is? I know it's a form of steroid. Right. It's an injectable steroid, right? Testosterone? Well, I mean, testosterone, I believe you can get prescription from the doctors. Well, right. For legitimate medical reasons. So it's not an illegal drug. So I don't know. What part are you talking about? Bond's strategy is to ramble until the prosecutors become frustrated and cut him off. It's a simple plan, but it works. After three hours of questioning, he's revealed very little of use to the government's case. Unfortunately for bonds, other witnesses will be more forthcoming. The grand jury testimony continues. In early November of 2003, First Basement Jason Giambi testifies that bonds introduced him to his trainer Greg Anderson and that he then paid Anderson over $10,000 for steroids. He states clearly that he wasn't just allowing Anderson to rub some mysterious cream on his arm. He knew exactly what drugs he was buying, what they were for, and that they were illegal. More players testify that they bought steroids from Anderson. And while they don't directly implicate bonds, they say they bought from Anderson because they wanted the same drugs bonds was using. Players directly identify a featured conti and Balco as their source for band drugs. As the testimony continues amid leaks and speculation, the country is divided. Some people believe that athletes should be allowed to do whatever they need to to achieve peak performance. Others believe that sports records are sacred and that any record set by a steroid using athlete is illegitimate. It's a debate that won't be resolved anytime soon. On January 20th, 2004, a former baseball team owner weighs in on the controversy. President George W. Bush, former owner of the Texas Rangers, in his annual state of union address, said, To help children make right choices that they need good examples. Athletics play such an important role in our society. But unfortunately, some in professional sports are not setting much of an example. Just until now, Capitol Hill had seemed to be unconcerned with the scandal. Now, after what pundits are calling the crazy two sentences in Bush's state of the union address, politicians scramble to get in on the act. Until this moment, Attorney General John Ashcroft has been focusing his attention on the war on terror. But sports are sacred to Ashcroft. His office is adorned with sports memorabilia and he's a huge St. Louis Cardinals fan. He's also the son of a Pentecostal minister and he has a rigid sense of right and wrong. Many of his staffers are sports fanatics as well and morning meetings increasingly turn to the latest developments in the BALCO case. The grand jury is scheduled to hand down their indictments on February 12th. At the urging of his sports obsessed staffers, Ashcroft decides that he'll announce the indictments himself in a televised press conference. Victor Conti has always longed for fame and recognition. Now he's about to get it from the Attorney General of the United States. While Victor Conti is feeling the heat, Jeff Novisky is basking in the limelight. He's at Ashcroft's side when Ashcroft announces that Victor Conti, BALCO's Vice President Jim Valente, trainer Greg Anderson and track coach Remi Korchemney, are charged with 42 counts of conspiracy, money laundering and a scheme to corrupt sports. But there's something can speakuously missing from Ashcroft's remarks. Not one athlete is mentioned. So even though a number of athletes have come clean to the grand jury, their names are redacted in all public court documents. Many of them have made tens of millions of dollars with Conti's help, but they've all been promised immunity while he faces prison. They can continue to compete and fans and owners will never know the truth. Still, the players are spooked. From Jason Gianbi shows up for spring training, he's lost 40 pounds, more than likely because he stopped using steroids. Yet he continues to insist to anyone who asks that he's never done steroids and never will. And since the grand jury testimony is sealed, he figures he can get away with the lie. But Mighty Jason's about to strike out. On March 2nd, 2004, reporters Mark Fennarewata and Lance Williams publish another scoop in the San Francisco Chronicle. It's an explosive one. They've obtained information from a confidential source that was provided to the Balco investigators. They report that Barry Bonds used the clear and the cream. They degotted it from Greg Anderson and that Anderson got it from Balco. They named six other athletes who got their drugs from Balco, including Jason Gianbi. The news goes viral with hundreds of other athletes picking it up the next day. Coincidentally, Major League Baseball had scheduled a press conference on that same day to announce their support for new tougher legislation against steroid trafficking. Baseball Commissioner Bud Seelick was scheduled to speak in support of the new law. But now he's afraid he'll be asked questions he doesn't want to answer. So instead of attending, he releases a written statement and issues a gag order to all the Major League Baseball clubs. No one in baseball is permitted to comment on Balco or steroids. But others have a lot to say. The author of the new legislation, Representative John Swini of New York, ceases the opportunity to blast the baseball establishment and the players. He accuses both sides of obstructing and walking away from their responsibilities and declares that an asterisk should be placed next to the records of any athletes who used illegal substances. It's another bad day for baseball. Reporter Swarm, the giant spring training camp. Owner Peter McGowan is nowhere to be seen and Bonds has only one thing to say. He declares himself the most wanted man in America. A few days later, Bonds is on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Normally this would be an honor, but this time the headline reads, is Baseball in the asterisk era? An asterisk indicates a clad of suspicion and no player wants that hanging over their record. Ever mindful of an opportunity to ride a wave of public outrage, politicians stumble over themselves to make statements condemning the players, their union, the owners, and Victor Conti. Senator John McCain convenes a Senate panel to examine the steroid policies in various sports. He's a diehard sports fan who believes in playing by the rules. One by one, owners, commissioners, and union chiefs are grilled and excoriated. The message from the senator is clear. Clean up your act, or we'll do it for you. Victor Conti tries to pretend its business is usual. As he's done for years, he attends the annual fitness expo in Columbus, Ohio. But while he's handing out samples of ZMA, DEA agents are there handing out subpoenas. Among their targets is Milo's The Minds Sarsaf, a member of Conti's ill fated steroid summit. For steroid users and dealers, the mood on the street is abject terror. But Conti and his cronies aren't the only ones receiving bad press. Fingers are pointing at Jeff Navitsky as well. By ran white, the undercover agent who suffered a stroke after working out with Greg Anderson doesn't exclusive interview with Playboy magazine. He blasts Navitsky, calling him a failed athlete who was jealous of all the attention bonds received. He claims Navitsky has a vendetta against bonds and suggests it's racially motivated. He also accuses Navitsky of being star struck, claiming he talked about cashing in on a book deal and doing television interviews. Suddenly, Jeff Navitsky is sounding a little less like a selfless moral crusader and a little more like that relentless self promoter of Victor Conti. He denies the allegations, claiming that he was just joking about the book deal, but it's given Conti's lawyers a line of defense to pursue. Things are moving rapidly for everyone. Terry Madden, the head of the US Anti Topping Agency. The Olympic trials will begin in July, less than four months away, and he still hasn't been able to get his hands on any of the government's documents. Without the evidence, there's no way they'll be able to purge the drug cheats from the Olympic team. He's made calls, written letters, begged, and pleaded to no avail. Finally, he convinces Senator John McCain to intervene. The Senator writes a letter to Ashcroft asking that the government share their evidence with USADA. Ashcroft denies the request. Undeterred, McCain takes the highly unusual step of sending a subpoena to his own Justice Department. And on April 14, 2004, the Justice Department delivers 10,000 pages of documents to McCain's committee. But Madden still has to wait. The committee staff is required to go through all of the documents to verify what can be released and what must be redacted. Then, Madden and his staff have to meet with the Congressional Committee in a closed hearing and swear that the information will not be misused. Finally, on May 8, only two months before Olympic trials are set to begin, Madden gets his holy grail. He's shocked at the extent of the evidence. It's far more damning and involves many more athletes than he ever imagined. But now his USADA faces tough choices. In some cases, the evidence is weaker than in others. If they prosecute an athlete and lose the case, the organization's reputation will be ruined. And they've got very little time. They decide the pressure of the athletes to cut deals. The plan works. A world champion sprinter confesses to using bandrugs. All of her performances since December of 2000 are unknowled, and she's given a two year ban, essentially ending her career. Not everyone is willing to make deals, especially not the fastest woman in the world. Marion Jones is determined to see this race to the bitter end. From the eight year old girl who vowed she'd be an Olympic champion, to winning gold medals, to dealing with her husband's steroids bust and having her marriage collapse, she's always fought her way to the top. Determination has made her who she is. But now, her determination is going to be tested like never before. From wondering, this is episode four of six of Balco for American scandal. On the next episode, Jeff Navisky defies a court order. Journalists are threatened with jail time, and Marion Jones and Barry Bonds go all out to clear their names. If you'd like to learn more about Doping and Sports and Balco, we recommend the book Game of Shadows, Barry Bonds, Balco, and the steroids scandal that rocked professional sports by Mark Fainarawada and Lance Williams. This episode contains reenactments and dramatized details, and while in most cases we can't know exactly what was said, all our dramatizations are based on historical research. American scandal is hosted, edited, executed, produced, and sound designed by me Lindsey Graham for airship, additional production assistance by Derek Barons. This episode is written by Steve Chivers. Our consultants are Mark Fainarawada and Lance Williams. Our producers are Stephanie Jens, Marsha Lui, and her nonmopes for wondering.