Judge says ex-players must testify at Bonds' trial

January 21, 2011, 10:38 pm
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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Some of BarryBonds' former teammates, along with other retired Major League Baseballplayers and perhaps current player Jason Giambi, will have to testifyat the slugger's upcoming perjury trial, a federal judge said Friday.Lawyers for Bonds argued at a hearingbefore U.S. District Court Judge Susan Illston that the players shouldbe excluded because of their ties to Bonds' former trainer GregAnderson, who is refusing to testify against the slugger. REWIND: Lawyers seek to keep players from Bonds' trial
Illston previously barred much of theevidence relating to Anderson because of his willingness to go toprison on contempt charges rather than testify at the trial set tostart March 21.Without his testimony, it could beimpossible to prove that urine samples that purportedly tested positivefor steroids had been collected from Bonds by Anderson.Illston also said she would consideron a case-by-case basis whether to exclude other evidence seized fromAnderson's home and elsewhere that prosecutors want to show the jury.The judge said prosecutors could callthe athletes to testify about their relationships with Anderson, whosupplied many of them with steroids and whom the government claimssupplied Bonds with performance-enhancing drugs.Bonds, 46, has pleaded not guilty to10 counts of perjury and an obstruction charge after telling a grandjury in December 2003 that he never knowingly took steroids. Bondstestified that Anderson supplied him with all kinds of substances, buthe assumed they were all legal supplements.Some players were expected to testifythat Anderson supplied them with drugs and informed clients thesubstances were illegal steroids. Prosecutors hope the testimony willpersuade jurors that Bonds had to have known that Anderson was givinghim illicit performance enhancers."Anderson provided them with detailedinstructions and explained to them these were steroids," federalprosecutor Matt Parrella told the judge.One of Bonds' six attorneys, DennisRiordan, sought to bar the athletes' testimony. He arguedunsuccessfully that the government was attempting to win the case with"guilt by association."On the prosecution witness list areGiambi and retired players Marvin Benard, Jeremy Giambi (Jason'sbrother), Armando Rios, Benito Santiago, Bobby Estallela, Randy Velardeand retired football player Larry Izzo.The judge said she may stop the parade of players from taking the witness stand if their testimony begins to sound the same.The players' dealings with Andersondate back a decade or more, which legal experts said could furtherhobble prosecutors already set back by the exclusion of the tests tiedto Anderson."We all struggle with recalling whathappened a week ago," said Vermont Law School professor Michael McCann,a sports law expert. "It happened so long ago, and these witnesses areprobably going to have a difficult time recalling everything."The judge ordered Anderson to appearin court sometime before the trial starts to reiterate his refusal totestify. Anderson will be jailed for the length of the trial, whichcould last a month. Anderson already served a little more than a yearon contempt charged after he refused to testify before the grand juryinvestigating Bonds for perjury.Anderson pleaded guilty to steroidsdistribution and money laundering in 2005 and served three months inprison. His Los Angeles-based lawyer Mark Geragos didn't return a phonecall Friday.Both sides will return to court Feb.11 to wrangle over whether a secretly recorded conversation betweenAnderson and Bonds' former business partner Steve Hoskins should beplayed for the jury.Hoskins made the recording in front of the slugger's locker in San Francisco in March 2003.In that conversation, Andersondiscusses how he is helping Bonds avoid infections by injecting him indifferent parts of his buttocks rather than in one spot.Bonds testified before the grand jury that no one but his doctor ever injected him.