March 21, 2011
SAN FRANCISCO (APCSN) -- A jury has been selected in the Barry Bonds perjury trial.
After more than five hours of questioning Monday, prosecutors and Bonds' lawyers agreed on 12 jurors and two alternates from a pool of around 100 prospective jurors.
Bonds played for the San Francisco Giants when he hit 73 homers in a season and when he broke Hank Aaron's career home-run record. He hasn't played since 2007, the year he was indicted.
Bonds has pleaded not guilty to one count of obstruction and four charges of lying to a grand jury when he said he never knowingly took performance-enhancing drugs.
The jury includes four men and eight women. The two alternates also are women.
Bonds was present in a dark suit, with a collection of family members and friends sitting in the front rows of court.
According to firsthand accounts from inside the courtroom, jury selection began at about 9:40 a.m. with the arrival of the 38-person (22 female, 16 male) panel. U.S. District Judge Susan Illston asked basic questions such as where jurors lived, their occupation, a brief family description, their hobbies, had they served on a jury before, among other inquiries.
A handful of jurors mentioned baseball and sports as hobby. One indicated a reluctance to render a judgment against "a great athlete like Mr. Bonds. It might cloud my judgment."
One of the prospective jurors whom prosecutors want excused wrote on her questionnaire: "He is guilty. He lied. He has suffered enuf. There should have been some sort of settlement." The prospective juror identified herself as 61 years old and holding a law degree.
When he initially entered his plea in December 2007, Bonds was met by a huge crowd of media, fans and others as television helicopters hovered overhead. Much of that attention was missing on Monday. About a dozen photographers milled outside, but few fans were there to see Bonds walk into the federal courthouse in San Francisco dressed in a dark suit, white shirt and silver tie.
While Bonds sat with his star-studded legal team at the defense table, Jeff Novitzky, the federal agent who led the investigation of the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative, joined the prosecutors. Bonds is the biggest name to go to trial from the BALCO probe.
Opening statements were expected on Tuesday, and the case was likely to last two to four weeks.