A federal judge this afternoon (Sept. 21) sentenced two Chronicle reporters to a maximum sentence of 18 months in jail after they refused to tell a grand jury who leaked them confidential records in the BALCO steroids case. But they won’t go to jail until an appeal is heard, which could take months. Last month, U.S. District Court Judge Jeffrey S. White ordered reporters Lance Williams (center left) and Mark Fainaru-Wada (center) to reveal who leaked them the grand jury testimony of baseball stars Barry Bonds and Jason Giambi. The reporters said they would go to jail to protect their sources. Both sides have agreed to stay the ruling by U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White pending an appeal to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. Above, Williams and Fainaru-Wada are surrounded by media outside the federal courthouse in San Francisco as they arrived for today’s hearing. (Photo by Darryl Bush of the Chronicle.)

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