Deadline Near For Baseball Steroids Probe

Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell, left, is joined by Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig during a news conference in New York, Thursday, March 30, 2006. Selig annouced that Mitchell will be leading an investigation into the alleged steroid use by Barry Bonds and other MLB players. "Nothing is more important to me than the integrity of the game of baseball," commissioner Bud Selig said Thursday. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer) AP Photo

This article was written by CBS News chief investigative correspondent Armen Keteyian.




CBS News has learned former U.S. Senator George Mitchell has set this Saturday, Nov. 10 as deadline day -- the final day his commission will accept any interviews, documents, test results or other information relative to Mitchell's investigation into the use of anabolic steroids and other performance enhancing drugs in baseball.

The Mitchell Commission recently sent written notification to lawyers representing some major league baseball players with ties to the BALCO drug scandal informing them of the Nov. 10 deadline, according to an attorney who received the letter.

"He's drawing a line in the sand," said the attorney of Mitchell, whose full report is expected to be released by the end of the year.

Mitchell has consistently declined to comment about this aspect of his investigation, while Gene Orza, chief operating officer of the Major League Baseball Players Association, had no comment today on the date.

According to several sources, friction continues to exist between the union and Mitchell's investigative team. The union is still said to be "fighting" over what documents it will allow to even be shown to players who do consent to interviews.

Another highly-placed source told CBS News the players association will be able to "review" the Mitchell Report for a period of time before it is released to insure compliance with the current collective bargaining agreement.

For almost two years Mitchell has focused on the so-called "Steroid Era," in baseball, the decade before the league began cracking down on "juicing" in 2005. The inquiry was sparked by a federal grand jury probe into BALCO and its founder Victor Conte. Some of the biggest names in sport -- including home run king Barry Bonds, New York Yankees slugger Jason Giambi and Olympic superstar Marion Jones -- testified before the BALCO grand jury in San Francisco.

Jones' most recent admission that she lied to the grand jury when she denied the use of performance enhancing drugs further set the stage for Mitchell's long-awaited, much-anticipated findings.
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