SAN FRANCISCO (CBS 5 / AP) – A federal appeals court has reaffirmed its ruling that investigators illegally seized a list of baseball players who allegedly tested positive for steroids during a 2004 drug lab raid.

It’s the third time the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled on the issue during six years of litigation. Three trial courts also have issued separate rulings in the case.

On Monday, the 11-judge panel again ordered investigators to return the list of 104 players to the labs, effectively barring them from using the players to expand their sports doping investigation.

The 9th Circuit also closed its doors to any further appeals.

The government still could appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. A phone message left for a Justice Department spokesman was not immediately returned.

(© 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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