Bonds enters not guilty plea for fourth time

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Bonds enters not guilty plea for fourth time

March 1, 2011
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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) Barry Bonds pleaded not guilty to perjury charges, his former personal trainer is facing prison and the admissibility of a trove of evidence hangs in the balance after a pivotal hearing in federal court Tuesday, three weeks before the slugger's trial is scheduled to start.Bonds' renewed plea was a legal technicality made necessary when prosecutors revised the charges for the third time since the initial indictment was unsealed in November 2007. Bonds is charged with four counts of making false statements to a grand jury and one count of obstruction of justice. There was little doubt what Bonds' plea was going to be Tuesday and that the case was going to trial March 21 after Bonds' legal team and prosecutors last month told U.S. District Judge Susan Illston that there was little chance of a plea agreement.Likewise, there was no doubt that Bonds' former personal trainer, Greg Anderson, would tell the judge Tuesday that he has no intention of taking the stand as a government witness during the trial. Anderson made a similar pledge in 2009 before Bonds' trial was put on hold until a government appeal was resolved in Bonds' favor.Anderson has previously spent more than a year in prison on contempt charges after refusing to testify before the grand jury investigating Bonds.The judge said that prosecutors and Bonds' legal team both want Anderson to testify. She said his testimony would spare his former clients, including several retired major league players, from being called to the witness stand to discuss how he supplied them with steroids. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeff Nedrow said he wants to use that evidence to support their position that Bonds was lying when he claimed "he was unwittingly duped by Mr. Anderson" into believing he was taking legal supplements."Much of that testimony would be unnecessary" if he testified, Illston told Anderson.Illston then told Anderson that she planned to find him in contempt of court and will order him jailed during the duration of the trial, which is expected to last at least two weeks. Anderson simply nodded his head when the judge asked if he intended to follow through on his vow of silence."He's taking not testifying to the nth degree," said Mark Geragos, Anderson's attorney.Illston ordered Anderson to return to court March 22, when she plans to order him jailed.After Anderson left the courtroom, the lawyers got down to highly technical arguments over what evidence will be presented to the jury.The judge ruled that the jury may hear, among other pieces of evidence:- That prosecutors granted Bonds immunity from prosecution as long he testified truthfully about his drug use before the grand jury.- Bonds' former personal shopper, Cathy Hoskins, testifying about Bonds' relationship with a Playboy model.- Bonds' personal surgeon, Dr. Arthur Ting, and former girlfriend Kim Bell testifying that Bonds mistreated them, including Bell allegedly witnessing violent outbursts.Bonds attorney Cris Arguedas objected to Bell telling the jury about an incident where Bonds allegedly grabbed her by the throat and threatened her life. Arguedas denied the incident occurred, but argued that even if it did happen, such testimony would unfairly bias the jury against Bonds."It's an act of domestic violence," Arguedas said. "It has an incendiary effect on the jury."Ted Cassman, another Bonds attorney, objected to Bell testifying that she witnessed Bonds' testicles shrink during their time together. He said that such an allegation is difficult to prove scientifically and would bring an unnecessary "circus-like" atmosphere to the trial.Illston didn't respond in court to the latest objections and will issue a written ruling later.Each count against Bonds carries a potential sentence of 10 years in prison. However, federal sentencing guidelines for a first offense on these charges generally call for a total sentence of 15 to 21 months.

49ers GM Lynch speaks with Harbaugh about Michigan prospects

49ers GM Lynch speaks with Harbaugh about Michigan prospects

PHOENIX – John Lynch’s draft preparation as a first-year NFL general manager prompted him to make a phone call Monday to Jim Harbaugh.

“I talked to an old 49ers coach yesterday,” Lynch said at the NFL owners meetings. “He was great. He has a lot of players who are draftable. (He) gave me a lot of great information, and it was entertaining, as it always is with Jim.

“He just said, ‘Fired up for you, man,’ then we started talking about his players. He had to go to a meeting and I had to go to a meeting, so it was quick.”

Before Lynch could quiz Harbaugh about some of the Wolverines’ draft-eligible prospects, Harbaugh had a brief chance to catch up with his brother, John, the Baltimore Ravens head coach.

“It was fun because right when we called, his brother was right there,” Lynch said.

“So John came over and before I could get on the phone, John and Jim were talking. I said, ‘Hey, you’re cutting into my time, give me the phone.’ We had a good time.”

Michigan’s top prospects are safety Jabrill Peppers, who won the Paul Hornung Award as the nation’s most-versatile player, and edge rusher Taco Charlton.

Lynch said he does not ask “lazy questions” of any college coach about his former players. Instead, he’s looking at specifics, such as what position a player is better suited to play at the NFL level.

Harbaugh, who was let go after the 49ers' 8-8 season of 2014, enters his third season at his alma mater after two seasons with 10-3 records.

NFL centralizes replay reviews, Del Rio wants more freedom in challenges

NFL centralizes replay reviews, Del Rio wants more freedom in challenges

PHOENIX – Fans won’t see special teams players leaping over the long snapper in an attempt to block a field goal or extra point. Seattle’s Kam Chancellor made some big plays with that technique, but won’t have the chance anymore.

The NFL outlawed that option on Tuesday as one several rule changes enacted at the league meetings.

“There are some safety concerns,” Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio said. “that are legitimate.”

The NFL also centralized replay reviews, taking that power away from officials on the field. NFL head of officiating Dean Blandino and associates at the NFL’s command center will handle reviews in an effort to add consistency to important calls.

Del Rio hoped replay challenges would be expanded further, but a proposal by Seattle and Buffalo allowing coaches to challenge any play save scoring plays and turnovers, which are automatically reviewed, did not pass.

“I think there are a number of coaches who feel like, if there’s an obvious error, we should have a mechanism to correct it,” Del Rio said. “We catch most of them, so you’re talking about a small percentage. It’s hard to move the needle for such a small percentage. That’s the problem. The fact is, if it’s important enough that we’re willing to use that challenge, we’d like that right and ability. Things happen, and you don’t want to lose a big game, a game that decides whether you advance in the playoffs or make the playoffs and it’s something you could overturn, that you could challenge or change. Why not?”

Here's a list of new rules and bylaws adopted by the league on Tuesday.