Hey now, wrveres. I never said it confirmed the stuff in the book--I said it confirmed what the Chronicle wrote about the Grand Jury testimony, and that's exactly what it did. In fact, the only time I mentioned Bonds in the original post was to say that he did not
admit to using steroids. So I don't know why you started reading thinking that there would be anything good about Bonds in there.
As for Conte being the source, he was certainly the source of a lot of information, if not the transcripts themselves. But I get the impression that the government thinks he was the source of the transcripts--otherwise, why would they have devoted so much space to him? When he sent that email titled "the end," I think he was angry that they had published verbatim testimony he had given them. And what are the chances that the reporters would have two different people leaking information to them?
But of course, that is speculation on my part. All we know is that Conte was leaking some information, including Giambi's/Sheffield's admission.
Also, your lawyer friends are correct--this is not a motion from the reporters attempting to avoid a subpoena, this is the government request to quash such a motion--which is why there's so much interesting stuff in there. In any event (DK), the chances are almost nil that the reporters obtained the records illegally, which would have involved breaking into the building or something. However, whoever gave
them the records was doing something illegal, and if the reporters refuse to testify about it they may face jail time for helping him.
In the journalistic community, if somebody gives you information off the record it's generally considered a matter of pride that you don't give them up, even if it means going to jail. So if the reporters go to jail here, it will be seen as more "the honorable thing to do" than an admission of actual wrongdoing.