Anderson trying to work out plea

Updated: March 16, 2005, 11:29 AM ET
Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO -- A Wednesday federal court hearing in which Barry Bonds' trainer would seek to dismiss the steroid distribution charges against him has been postponed for weeks, a delay Greg Anderson's lawyer said was an effort to try to work out a plea deal.

"We're trying to resolve the case," Anderson's attorney, Anna Ling, said Tuesday. "We do not want to take this to trial. And we don't want to bring in baseball players to testify."

Federal prosecutors declined public comment about delaying until approximately June 26 a hearing in which Anderson was trying to suppress a warrant that authorized the search of his Burlingame house and car.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Nedrow said in court papers that the government did not object to the postponement.

The delay of a hearing, one that had been set months ago, is among the clearest signals that a deal between the authorities and Anderson might be worked out. Ling and the authorities declined to elaborate on discussions.

Just last week, a similar suppression hearing for Victor Conte, the Burlingame-based Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative founder who is also on trial, was indefinitely delayed because Conte fired his lawyers.

That postponement fueled speculation that perhaps he and BALCO vice president James Valente were looking for a deal, which Conte has said he has been seeking.

Last week, when U.S. District Judge Susan Illston granted the hearing reprieve for Conte but kept Anderson's hearing date firm, Illston said she was "concerned about moving this matter forward."

The delayed hearings focus on searches at BALCO and Anderson's Burlingame house. The defendants' lawyers claim the searches were illegal because officers did not supply warrants to the men.

Federal agents stated in court records that they seized calendars and other documents detailing the use of steroids by baseball players during the search of Anderson's home.

"Included among these files with apparent steroid distribution details was a folder for Barry Bonds," Internal Revenue Service agent Jeff Novitzky wrote in court documents. Bonds denies using steroids.

Novitzky wrote that during the September 2003 raid on BALCO, "Conte openly acknowledged giving testosterone-base cream, itself a steroid, to numerous professional athletes and specifically identified the names of the specific athletes to whom he had given drugs."

An IRS memo about that conversation listed baseball players Bonds, Jason Giambi and Gary Sheffield, in addition to track standouts Marion Jones, Tim Montgomery and others.

Giambi testified in 2003 before the grand jury that he used illegal substances obtained from Anderson, the San Francisco Chronicle reported in December. Bonds testified that he used substances obtained from Anderson, and did not believe they were steroids, the paper reported.

Conte, Valente, Anderson and track coach Remi Korchemny were indicted. The four, who have pleaded not guilty, face charges that include illegally distributing steroids, possession of human growth hormone, money laundering and misbranding drugs with intent to defraud.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press