Tuesday, July 12, 2011
MLB reaches out to Mary Anne Catalano
By Mike Fish
Investigators for Major League Baseball reached out today in an attempt to gain the cooperation of the former executive assistant to the Toronto-based doctor accused of treating professional athletes with performance-enhancing drugs, her lawyer told ESPN.com.
Rod Personius, an attorney for Mary Anne Catalano, said he also expects to hear from investigators representing the NFL. Personius said he is unsure whether Catalano will agree to meet with league officials seeking to gather information on the involvement of players with Dr. Anthony Galea.
Galea pleaded guilty last week in U.S. District Court in Buffalo to bringing unapproved drugs, including human growth hormone and Actovegin, into the United States. Most of the charges were dismissed against Galea as part of his plea deal, which requires his cooperation with federal investigators.
"I got a phone call from baseball, but I don't know what her answer is or her position is going to be on that," Personius said. "And it will be driven by both her view on it and what [the U.S. attorney's office] says."
MLB security declined comment when reached by ESPN.com
Carlos Beltran and Jose Reyes of the New York Mets, both former Galea patients, have acknowledged talking to federal investigators, though neither is accused of having used performance-enhancing drugs. New York Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez also told MLB officials that he didn't receive performance-enhancing drugs from Galea.
Catalano, a key source in the case against Galea, is scheduled to be sentenced July 25 in Buffalo. She has pleaded guilty to making false statements when flagged by agents at the Buffalo border crossing in September 2009 with a bagful of medical supplies, including HGH.
Barbara Burns, a spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney's office in Buffalo, declined to say whether the office would take a position on Catalano's cooperation with the leagues, citing its own on-going investigation. Federal prosecutors normally don't require cooperatiion with an outside investigation, but prosecutors in San Francisco did in the case of convicted steroid dealer Kirk Radomski, who proved a key source in baseball's Mitchell Report and is expected to testify at the Roger Clemens perjury trial.
According to documents obtained at the time by ESPN, Catalano identified 23 athletes during interviews with U.S. and Canadian authorities whom she said Galea treated in the U.S. during a two-month period in the summer of 2009. Catalano told authorities she witnessed Galea inject a cocktail mixture containing Nutropin [growth hormone] into the injured knee of at least seven athletes while traveling with him in the United States.
One athlete that was under the care of Galea was golf star Tiger Woods, however on Tuesday, Personius reiterated that Woods never received performance-enhancing drugs as a patient.
"The suggestion and rumor was unfair," Personius said. "Galea's attorneys have said all along that there was no involvement (with PEDs), but no one paid attention. The government really isn't in position to comment. Maybe coming from a neutral party it'll mean something."
Galea is not licensed to practice medicine in the United States, but Catalano told authorities she accompanied the doctor while he treated athletes in eight major U.S. cities during the summer of 2009. She described Galea has having met athletes in "hotel rooms and their homes" to provide various medical treatments.
The pro athletes, some of whom had multiple treatments from Galea, were not identified in court documents, though it is presumed the majority are football and baseball players. Court filings listed at least three unidentified NFL players.
Mike Fish is an investigative reporter for ESPN.com.