This narrative is based on more than a thousand pages of documents and interviews with more than 200 people, many of whom we spoke to repeatedly. In our reporting on the BALCO story for the San Francisco Chronicle, we obtained transcripts of the secret grand jury testimony of Barry Bonds and seven other prominent professional athletes. We also reviewed confidential memorandums detailing federal agents' interviews with other athletes and trainers who had direct knowledge of BALCO. Sealed material we reviewed also included unredacted versions of affidavits filed by the BALCO investigators; e-mail between BALCO owner Victor Conte and several athletes and coaches regarding the use and distribution of drugs; a list of evidence seized from the BALCO storage locker; and a document prepared to brief participants in the raid on BALCO.
Memos detailing the statements of Conte, BALCO vice president James Valente and Bonds's trainer, Greg Anderson, to IRS special agent Jeff Novitzky were sealed when we first reviewed them, but they have since become part of the public file in the BALCO case. The BALCO search warrant affidavits and other court records provided significant information. We also obtained a recording made without Anderson's knowledge in 2003 by a person familiar with Bonds's trainer; in it, Anderson acknowledged that Bonds was using an undetectable performance-enhancing drug to beat baseball's drug tests. Kimberly Bell, Bonds's former girlfriend, provided legal correspondence, transcripts, audiotapes of voice mail and many documents regarding her relationship with Bonds.
We conducted our interviews about BALCO from September 2003 until the autumn of '05. The names of many of our sources appear in the text or in the extensive chapter notes included in Game of Shadows. Some sources requested anonymity to avoid interfering with the federal BALCO investigation and a related grand jury probe that continued into '05. Some additional information about sources who requested anonymity appears in the chapter notes.
When they raided BALCO in September 2003, federal investigators began to accumulate evidence that Bonds was a steroid user. By the summer of '05, investigators had convincing proof that he had been using performance-enhancing drugs for years and that drugs had been provided to him by Anderson, who obtained them from BALCO and other sources. The evidence also showed that Bonds had not been truthful when he told the BALCO grand jury under oath that he hadn't knowingly used steroids.
After his grand jury appearance, Bonds continued to insist publicly that he had never used banned drugs, and the San Francisco Giants, who were paying him $90 million over five years, made no move to investigate his conduct or restrict his contact with suspected steroid dealers, arguing that there was no proof of wrongdoing.
Nevertheless, proof of Bonds's drug use exists, most of it in the possession of federal agents, much of it in the public domain. The evidence includes the statements of confessed steroid dealers, the account of a Bonds confidant as well as considerable documentary and circumstantial evidence. It also includes the account of a source familiar with Bonds who has specific knowledge of his use of banned drugs. That evidence forms the foundation of this narrative. Here is the evidence in review.
Statements to Federal Agents
1. When he was questioned during the raid, BALCO's James Valente told Novitzky that Bonds had received the undetectable steroids the Cream and the Clear from BALCO. Valente said Anderson had brought Bonds to BALCO before the 2003 season, seeking steroids that would not show up on drug tests. Valente said he provided Anderson with drugs to give to Bonds. Valente pleaded guilty to a steroid conspiracy charge in 2005.