A federal appeals court in San Francisco today upheld the perjury conviction of a former championship cyclist who lied to a grand jury during the BALCO sports steroids probe.
Tammy Thomas, 40, was one of 30 professional athletes summoned to testify in 2003 before a federal grand jury investigating the sale of performance-enhancing drugs by the Burlingame-based Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative, or BALCO.
In 2008, she was convicted of three counts of perjury and one count of obstruction of justice for telling the panel she never took anabolic steroids and never received illegal products from chemist Patrick Arnold, who worked with BALCO.
U.S. District Judge Susan Illston sentenced her to six months of home confinement and five years of probation.
A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously upheld the conviction today.
The court rejected Thomas’ claim that her convictions should be overturned because her answers to questions before the grand jury were literally truthful.
Thomas claimed her statement that she never received illegal products from Arnold was literally true because she received the items from his girlfriend.
She also said her statement that she never took any products Arnold gave her was true because he sold rather than gave them to her.
Circuit Judge Jay Bybee wrote in the court ruling that “a reasonable jury could conclude beyond a reasonable doubt” that Thomas understood the questions and answered falsely.