Bonds Faces 30 Years For Federal Charges
Bonds Indicted; Greg Anderson Freed
POSTED: 2:08 pm PST November 15, 2007
UPDATED: 7:34 am PST November 16, 2007
'Homerun King' Barry Bonds could spend 30 years in prison if he is convicted of felony charges of perjury and obstruction of justice in the BALCO steroid investigation.
Bonds was charged Thursday with perjury and obstruction of justice for allegedly lying when he said he did not use performance-enhancing drugs.
Just over an hour after the Bonds indictment, a judge ordered Greg Anderson to be freed from a federal facility behind the Santa Rita jail in Dublin.
Paula Canny, criminal attorney and friend to Anderson, told NBC11's Ethan Harp that Anderson will not testify against Bonds.
"Greg has to be released under the law because you can only hold a recalcitrant witness for the length of the grand jury or until the purpose of the grand jury subpoena ends," Canny said. "Once they indicted Barry, Greg has to be released by operation of law."
"(Anderson's release) has nothing to do with 'did he cooperate or not,'" Canny said.
Anderson was first ordered to prison in July 2006 for contempt of court after he refused to testify before the grand jury investigating Bonds. There has been speculation that Anderson, Bonds' longtime personal trainer, would testify against the homerun king.
The indictment, unsealed Thursday by federal prosecutors in San Francisco, is the culmination of a four-year federal probe into whether he lied under oath to a grand jury investigating steroid use by elite athletes.
What a waste of taxpayer money. To spend 4 years to trip a guy up on perjury and obstruction of justice... over what? performance-enhancing drugs? Come on!!!
The indictment comes three months after 43-year-old Bonds, one of the biggest names in professional sports, passed Hank Aaron to become baseball's career home run leader, his sport's most hallowed record.
"My reaction is that, quite frankly, I was surprised that this indictment came down given the evidence that I knew that the government had as of today that would not support a conviction," said Bonds' attorney John Burris. "So therefore I'm thinking that you're not going to indict unless you're pretty comfortable that you can get a conviction. Now it may be that they feel that way. But if the evidence is based upon statements from ex-girlfriends or former business partners, they're not going to get a conviction. It's just not going to happen."
"If there's other evidence that I'm unaware of, and certainly they make reference to records and things of this nature, then that only means to me… they have to be authenticated," Burris said. "Someone has to testify as to these records; someone has to indicate that what's there is true and that therefore Barry knowingly made a false statement at the time he said that he was unaware and did not knowingly take steroids.
"So I think those are tough questions. I think the government has a tough case in front of them. Barry's going to plead not guilty. He's going to fight these charges vigorously. That's all there is to it."
Why are we even going through this? No one ever gets convicted of perjury, right?
Canny spoke with NBC11's Ethan Harp before she picked up Anderson at the Dublin facility.
"I'm sure (Greg is) disappointed for Barry and I'm sure he's disappointed for himself," Canny said. "He just spent a year in prison. One year in prison."
"The reality is after I reviewed the indictment, they could have released this indictment a year ago, two years ago," Canny said. "There's nothing new in any of the media accounts."
After Harp asked Canny to go on the record about whether Anderson would testify against Bonds or not, she said in fact that Anderson would not testify against the slugger.
Bonds, who parted ways with the San Francisco Giants at the end of last season and has yet to sign with another team, also holds the game's single-season home run record of 73.
While Bonds was chasing Aaron amid the adulation of San Franciscans and the scorn of baseball fans almost everywhere else, due to his notoriously prickly personality and nagging steroid allegations, a grand jury quietly worked behind closed doors to put the finishing touches on the long-rumored indictment.
"There's been an effort to get Barry for a long time," Burris said. "I'm curious what evidence they have now they didn't have before. The only thing that raises a red flag is... is Greg Anderson testifying?"
And you know what? This is — the great story here for anybody willing to find it and write about it and explain it is this vast anti-Bonds conspiracy that has been conspiring against Barry since the day he started beating home run records.
The indictment charges Bonds with lying when he said that he didn't knowingly take steroids given to him by his personal trainer Greg Anderson. He also denied taking steroids at anytime in 2001 when he was pursuing the single season home-run record.
Bonds' defense: It depends on what the meaning of the word "knowingly" is.
"During the criminal investigation, evidence was obtained including positive tests for the presence of anabolic steroids and other performance enhancing substances for Bonds and other athletes," the indictment reads.
He is also charged with lying that Anderson never injected him with steroids.
It depends on what the meaning of the word "injected" is. Bonds isn't an MD, so he shouldn't be expected to know all that medical jargon.
"Greg wouldn't do that," Bonds testified in December 2003 when asked if Anderson ever gave him any drugs that needed to be injected. "He knows I'm against that stuff."
Bonds became the highest-profile figure caught up in the government investigation launched in 2002 with the raid of the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (BALCO), the Burlingame-based supplements lab at the center of a steroids distribution ring.
Bonds has long been shadowed by allegations that he used performance-enhancing drugs. The son of former big league star Bobby Bonds, Barry broke into the majors with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1986 as a lithe, base-stealing outfielder.
By the late 1990s, he'd bulked up to more than 240 pounds -- his head, in particular, becoming noticeably bigger. His physical growth was accompanied by a remarkable power surge.
Speculation of his impending indictment had mounted for more than a year.
In July 2006, the U.S. attorney in San Francisco took the unusual step of going public with the investigation. After the previous panel's 18-month term expired, he announced he was handing it off to a new grand jury.
Anderson was at the center of the investigation. He spent most of the past year in a federal detention center for refusing to testify to the grand jury.
According to testimony obtained by the San Francisco Chronicle, Bonds testified in 2003 that he took two substances given to him by Anderson -- which he called "the cream" and "the clear" -- to soothe aches and pains and help him better recover from injuries.
The substances fit the description of steroids distributed by BALCO founder Victor Conte. But when questioned under oath by investigators, Bonds said he believed Anderson had given him flaxseed oil and an arthritic balm.
Investigators and the public had their doubts.
Aiming to prove Bonds a liar, prosecutors tried to compel Anderson to testify. When he refused, they jailed him for contempt.
Hmmm... reminds me of Susan McDougal going to jail in contempt of court instead of testifying against the Clintons. Unfortunately, I don't think Anderson is going to get the sympathetic coverage that Susan received.
Anyway, what's the big deal here? I mean, perjury and obstruction of justice isn't a big deal, right? And he was only lying about a private, consensual use of performance-enhancing substances... And everyone does that, right? It's an issue between him and his trainer and really shouldn't be criminalized.
Now, it's time for Bonds to get back to the work that Major League Baseball and the American people want him to do - knocking home runs freakishly out of the park.
Just saying... Perhaps Bonds could enter the Democratic Presidential field?
ARC: St Wendeler