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 SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -Federal investigators can keep using the names and urine samples of about 100 major leaguers who tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs, a federal appeals court ruled Thursday.
After agreeing to reconsider its own ruling granting access to the evidence, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the decision, which overturned three lower court rulings barring authorities from accessing the names, would stand.
Access to the names could bolster the perjury case against Barry Bonds, who is charged with lying to a grand jury about whether he used steroids.
Baseball spokesman Rich Levin declined to comment. Michael Weiner, general counsel for the players' association, could not immediately be reached for comment.
Investigators seized computer files containing the test results in 2004 during raids of labs involved in Major League Baseball's drug-testing program. The investigators had search warrants for only 11 players, but ended up seizing the test results of every big league player.
The government argued that it seized everything because the 11 names it wanted were irrevocably mixed with the other names on computer hard drives.
The players' union sued to keep the government from accessing the records, saying the seizures violated the players' constitutional rights.
The samples were collected at baseball's direction the previous year as part of a survey to gauge the prevalence of steroid use.
Players and owners agreed in their labor contract that the results would be confidential, and each player was assigned a code number to be matched with his name.
Quest Diagnostics of Teterboro, N.J., one of the largest drug-testing firms in the nation, analyzed more than 1,400 urine samples from players that season. Comprehensive Drug Testing of Long Beach, Calif., coordinated the collection of specimens and compiled the data.
With data from both labs, government officials were able to discern the names of the players who tested positive.
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