Bonds goes on trial Monday for 2003 testimony


Bonds goes on trial Monday for 2003 testimony

March 19, 2011

(AP) -- When Barry Bonds walked into the federal courthouse in San Francisco on Dec. 4, 2003, his career total stood at 658 home runs, baseball had yet to institute drug testing with penalties and the Giants were nearly a half-century removed from their last World Series title.Much has changed since the brawny, contentious slugger spent 2 hours, 53 minutes answering questions from a pair of assistant U.S. attorneys and grand jurors examining drug use in sports.Baseball's Steroids Era receded somewhat as players and owners started mandatory testing and then toughened the rules three times. Bonds won his seventh MVP award in 2004 and broke Hank Aaron's career home run record in 2007.And then on Nov. 15, 2007, exactly 50 days since he took his final big league swing and 100 after topping Aaron, Bonds was indicted on charges he lied to the grand jury when he denied knowingly using performance-enhancing drugs. Even though he wanted to continue playing, all 30 major league teams shunned him. And without Bonds, the Giants last year won their first title since 1954.Starting Monday, a jury will be selected in the very same court house where Bonds testified all those years ago to determine whether he broke the law with four short answers totaling nine words: "Not that I know of," "No, no," "No," and "Right."Each of the charges - four counts of making false statements to the grand jury and one count of obstruction - carry a possible sentence of up to 10 years, although federal guidelines make a total of 15 to 21 months more probable if Bonds is convicted.Prosecutors claim he lied to protect the legacy of a career in which he hit home runs at an unprecedented pace, especially for someone his age. Bonds was 43 when he his 762nd, and last, home run.His apparent defense?He was truthful when told the grand jury he didn't know the substances he used were steroids, so even if they were performance-enhancing drugs, that isn't relevant to the charges against Bonds."If you look at the cases of athletes internationally over the years, the defenses of those athletes has been, 'I didn't know,'" said Dr. Gary Wadler, former chairman of the committee that determines the banned substances list for the World Anti-Doping Agency. "They clearly know. The question is: In a hearing, can you prove it? But they know. Of course, they know."Even if that is the case here, prosecutors may trouble convincing jurors.Much of the government's case has been gutted by the refusal of Greg Anderson to testify. Bonds' personal trainer and childhood friend was sentenced in 2005 to three months in prison and three months home confinement after pleading guilty to steroid distribution and money laundering for his role in the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (BALCO) case. He is likely to be jailed again next week because he is refusing to testify at Bonds' trial.Without Anderson to authenticate key evidence, U.S. District Judge Susan Illston ordered that prosecutors couldn't present three positive drug tests seized from BALCO and so-called doping calendars maintained by the trainer at the trial. Prosecutors tried and failed to get her decision overturned. The appeal delayed the trial by two years, but the government lost in a 2-1 vote by a panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.Prosecutors allege Bonds lied to the grand jury when he said he didn't take steroids Anderson gave him, never received human growth hormone from Anderson, never took anything Anderson asked him to take before the 2003 season other than vitamins, and never allowed anyone to inject him other than physicians.Bonds testified to the grand jury he was told by Anderson he was taking "flax seed oil," which the government alleges was a then-undetectable steroid later determined to be Tetrahydrogestrinone (THG), developed by Patrick Arnold for BALCO and known as "the clear." Bonds also testified he used a lotion that Anderson told him was a balm for pain relief, which the government claims was a testosterone-based substance known as "the cream."With Anderson refusing to testify, prosecutors intend to use the testimony of other athletes, including former AL MVP Jason Giambi, plus the a tape recording of Anderson speaking with then-Bonds assistant Steve Hoskins, to help prove their assertion that Bonds knew what he was taking.A urine test Bonds took on June 4, 2003, for baseball, which later was found to be positive for THG, also will be introduced along with a July 7, 2006, urine test for baseball that was positive for an amphetamine. And Bonds' former mistress, Kimberly Bell, will be asked to testify about changes to Bonds' body and demeanor the government asserts were caused by steroids.With the well-established group of BALCO prosecutors led by Matthew A. Parrella and Jeffrey D. Nedrow battling against Bonds' high-priced legal team of half-a-dozen-plus attorneys, the case could come down to how much doubt Bonds' side raises about the government's evidence. The standard for criminal conviction is "beyond a reasonable doubt," not "without any doubt."Thus far, the highest-profile athlete sent to prison in the BALCO investigation has been track star Marion Jones, sentenced to six months in prison after pleading guilty to lying to federal investigators when she denied using performance-enhancing drugs and to a second count of lying about her association with a check-fraud scheme.Led by Jeff Novitzky, the tall and imposing lead investigator, the government has been criticized by some for spending millions of dollars on the investigation of Bonds and the separate probe of cyclist Lance Armstrong, who has not been charged. And Novitzky and prosecutors were rebuffed by the 9th Circuit, which ruled they illegally seized the tests results of about 100 baseball players not involved in the BALCO case.Yet former baseball Commissioner Fay Vincent sees value in the prosecution."The legal system has to count on people telling the truth and therefore the government will take seriously charges of lying to federal organizations," he said. "It's important for the federal system."Illston has urged the sides to try to reach an agreement without a trial, but that recommendation seems to have gone nowhere. And Bonds is only the first Steroids Era baseball star to face a jury. Starting July 6, seven-time Cy Young Award winner Roger Clemens goes on trial in Washington on three counts of making false statements, two counts of perjury and one count of obstruction of Congress.How Bonds and Clemens are viewed on the 2013 Hall of Fame ballot - and beyond - will be determined by these verdicts. Bonds' season record of 73 home runs and his career mark have been dismissed by some, perhaps many. Now 46, Bonds' statements, accomplishments, physique and reputation will be under scrutiny like never before."Obviously some of the romance and mythology of all sports has been diminished," broadcaster Bob Costas said. "That's just a consequence of the modern age. But I think that it's mostly because of the direct linkage to steroids."

Giants hammer Taillon, return favor with 11-3 win over Pirates

Giants hammer Taillon, return favor with 11-3 win over Pirates


SAN FRANCISCO -- Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner saw no reason to make a big deal over his first win of the year, even if it came far deeper into the season than anyone expected.

In a season that long ago spun out of control for both San Francisco and its ace, Bumgarner was happier seeing the struggling Giants have one of their best games of the year.

Bumgarner allowed one run over five innings for his first win of the season, and the Giants beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 11-3 on Tuesday night.

"It was nice to be on the board now individually," Bumgarner said. "But that's not what it's about. It's about us winning games, and we played really good tonight."

Eduardo Nunez drove in two runs in his final game with San Francisco as he was traded to Boston for two minor leaguers. The veteran infielder was pulled in the fifth inning and was later seen on television shaking hands with several teammates in the Giants' clubhouse. The deal was announced after a few minutes after the final out.

Bumgarner also singled and scored, Buster Posey had three hits and an RBI and Joe Panik added a bases-loaded triple as struggling San Francisco won for only the fifth time in 16 games.

Josh Harrison singled twice for the Pirates, who fell behind 9-0 and couldn't recover. Pittsburgh stranded seven runners in the first five innings, including four in scoring position.

Making his third start since coming off the disabled list after nearly three months following a dirt bike accident in Colorado on April 20, Bumgarner (1-4) was mostly sharp while quieting a potent Pittsburgh lineup and ending the Pirates' seven-game winning streak at AT&T Park.

Three years after pitching a complete game to beat Pittsburgh in the NL wild card on his way to winning the 2014 World Series MVP, Bumgarner pitched out of a pair of early jams, allowed six hits and had four strikeouts.

"He did a nice job," San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy said. "I'm sure he's glad to get that (first win) taken care of. Once he went five that was enough."

It's the first win by a Giants starting pitcher since July 5.

Jameson Taillon (6-4) took the loss, giving up 10 runs in three innings.

"I didn't make good pitches once they got runners on," Taillon said. "They didn't waste any time. They had a merry-go-round going."

Posey lined a single that hit second base umpire Ed Hickox in the foot and knocked him down in the fifth inning. Hickox slowly got to his feet and was attended to by a member of the Giants medical staff but remained in the game.

Giants: RHP Johnny Cueto may need to make a rehab start before rejoining the rotation. Cueto has been hindered by blisters on multiple fingers of his pitching hand, an issue that has lingered for much of the past month. The right-hander played catch from 105 feet before the game. Pablo Sandoval moved from Single-A San Jose to Triple-A Sacramento as he continues to try to work his way back into the big leagues. RHP Chris Stratton was recalled from Sacramento and IF Orlando Calixte was optioned down.

RHP Jeff Samardzija (4-11, 5.05 ERA) pitches the finale for the Giants seeking to beat Pittsburgh for the second time this season while RHP Trevor Williams (4-4, 4.74 ERA) takes the mound for the Pirates looking for his fourth win in the last five road starts.

Giants trade Eduardo Nunez to Red Sox

Giants trade Eduardo Nunez to Red Sox

Eduardo Nunez's time with the Giants is up as they have traded the third baseman to the Boston Red Sox.

The teams announced the trade shortly after the Giants beat the Pirates 11-3 on Tuesday night.

Fox Sports was the first to report the news.

The Giants will acquire minor league pitchers Shaun Anderson and Gregory Santos.

Anderson, Boston's third-round pick out of Florida in 2016, has a 3.42 ERA in 97.1 innings between Low-A Greenville and High-A Salem this season.

Santos, a 17-year-old right-handed pitcher, was signed by Boston out of the Dominican Republic in 2015. Pitching in the Dominican Summer League this season, Santos has allowed just three earned runs in 30 innings pitched.

Nunez was lifted for pinch-hitter in the bottom of the fifth inning Tuesday night and was seen hugging teammates as he left the dugout.

In 75 games with the Giants this season, Nunez hit .308/.334/.417 with 21 doubles, four home runs, 29 RBI and 17 stolen bases.

Nunez was acquired from the Twins last summer for two prospects.