wpostServer: http://css.washingtonpost.com/wpost

The Post Most: Sports

http://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/tv-listings-dc
The Early Lead
Posted at 02:51 PM ET, 03/22/2011

Trial of Barry Bonds begins; trainer refuses to testify (updated)


Barry Bonds pleaded not guilty March 1. (Jeff Chiu / AP)

Updated at 2:51 p.m.

Greg Anderson, Barry Bonds’ former trainer, refused to testify today in the home-run king’s perjury trial and was found in contempt of court.

U.S. District Judge Susan Illston order that he be held in custody until he either testifies or the trial ends. Prosecutors contend that Anderson gave Bonds performance-enhancing drugs and told him how to use them. Anderson served more than a year in prison for refusing to testify before the grand jury investigating Bonds in 2006. In 2005, he pleaded guilty to steroid distribution and money laundering and served three months in prison.

Updated at 2:36 p.m.

In his opening statement in the trial of Barry Bonds, a federal prosecutor said it is “ridiculous and unbelievable” that Bonds could have thought his trainer was giving him flax seed oil and arthritis cream and not steroids.

Assistant U.S. attorney Matt Parrella said Bonds lied seven years ago when, under oath, he told a grand jury that he never knowingly took performance-enhancing drugs.

Bonds’ attorneys objected to use of that phrase and attorney Allen Ruby, while acknowledging that Bonds took designer steroids called the “cream” and the “clear,” insisted he did so unwittingly.

Ruby told jurors, “Barry answered every question. He told the truth. He did his best.”

Filed at 7:56 a.m.

The jury has been chosen in the trial of Barry Bonds and opening arguments are expected to begin today in a federal court in San Francisco.

Bonds has pleaded not guilty to charges of lying about taking steroids and 12 jurors, chosen after members of the jury poll filled out a 19-page questionnaire, will judge his fate.

Jurors were asked, among other things, whether they had gone to a Giants game over the last five years (chances of that are more likely, given that the team won the World Series last year) and whether they knew of the Mitchell Report on drugs in the sport or congressional hearings at which players and former players testified.

“I would be reluctant to enter a judgment against a great athlete like Mr. Bonds,” a 61-year-old San Francisco man told Judge Susan Illston, according to the San Francisco Examiner. The man described himself as a “fervent Giants fan” in the questionnaire, adding that he believed steroid use by athletes is acceptable and that he wasn’t sure he could deliver an impartial verdict.

The case, the judge stressed, concerns only allegations about lying under oath to a grand jury. “You must decide the case on the evidence presented at trial,” Illston told potential jurors. “You will not be asked to decide whether you like or don’t like steroids.”

“I saw Barry hit his 500th homer in person,” one prospective juror wrote. “I used to love to watch him play because he was a game changer. But I’m disappointed that he took steroids and lied about it. Also angry that other players aren’t on trial.”

A man who described him as a Bonds fan wrote: “It’s my life. I don’t know if I could judge Mr. Bonds after providing me with so much entertainment. It’s an intimate relationship.”

For the next month or so, it’s going to be a very public trial. How do you feel about Bonds? Could you serve as a juror or is your mind made up?

By  |  02:51 PM ET, 03/22/2011

 
Read what others are saying
     

    © 2011 The Washington Post Company