Idaho magistrate recalls encounter with Bonds' trainer

Updated: April 7, 2006, 4:11 PM ET
Associated Press

BOISE, Idaho -- A federal magistrate in Boise says it was his duty as a citizen to help in baseball's investigation of steroid use by reporting a 2002 chance meeting he had with a longtime personal trainer for Barry Bonds.

Chief U.S. Magistrate Larry M. Boyle's involvement came to light Thursday in a story published in the San Francisco Chronicle, which had obtained from an unnamed source a copy of a letter written by Boyle to Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig.

Boyle mailed the letter to Selig on March 16, describing the encounter with trainer Greg Anderson. Boyle had mailed an earlier letter in 2004 about the meeting to U.S. Attorney Thomas Moss in Boise. Boyle also included a copy of his itinerary with the letter to Selig to establish the date he met Anderson.

On Thursday, Boyle confirmed he wrote the letters and gave copies of them to The Idaho Statesman.

"If I had seen an automobile accident, or witnessed something that was being investigated, no matter how big or how small, I have a responsibility as a citizen of this country to report that information," Boyle told the newspaper.

In the letters, Boyle describes a chance meeting he had with Anderson while traveling in 2002. According to court records, Anderson provided Bonds, Gary Sheffield and other baseball players with banned drugs. Anderson recently completed a three-month term in federal prison after pleading guilty in 2004 to money laundering and a steroid distribution charge.

Boyle met Anderson on June 11, 2002, while flying from Boise to Minneapolis to attend a judicial meeting, according to the letters.

"On the taxi/shuttle ride from the Minneapolis airport to my hotel I sat across the aisle from a man who initially attracted my attention because he was drinking a light brown, clear liquid from a plastic milk gallon jug," Boyle wrote in his letter to Moss, dated Feb. 26, 2004, The Idaho Statesman reported.

Boyle began a conversation with Anderson, who told Boyle he was on his way to help Gary Sheffield overcome a hitting slump. Sheffield, who played for the Atlanta Braves at the time, was in Minneapolis for a game against the Minnesota Twins.

Boyle wrote that Anderson told him he was making the trip at the request of his "best client," a reference to Bonds, Boyle later discovered.

Boyle wrote: "I asked him what he did for the players. Anderson explained that he will usually reserve the hotel exercise facility and work privately with Sheffield on body mechanics, weights and also take a blood or urine sample, test it to determine if his body chemistry is what it should be, and then give him nutritional supplements."

Boyle also wrote that Anderson said, "that when your friend and best client asks you to help his friend, you do it."

Bonds has been under increased scrutiny over steroids use since last month's release of "Game of Shadows," a book detailing his alleged longtime regimen for using performance-enhancing drugs.

The Chronicle reported that after Anderson's visit, Sheffield raised his batting average from below .260 to finish the season at .307.

Boyle's encounter with Anderson occurred before the federal raid on the Bay Area Laboratory Cooperative in 2003. The Chronicle reported that Boyle's letter supported some of Sheffield's testimony before the BALCO grand jury in 2003.

Boyle wrote in the letter to Moss that he also asked Anderson about steroids, and that Anderson replied: "Something to the effect that the subject was overblown and not as big a problem as reported in the news media."

In the letter to Selig, Boyle wrote that it appeared reasonable to him to conclude that Bonds sent Anderson to Sheffield "for whatever services he was rendering to professional athletes at that time. If Bonds sent Anderson to Sheffield, it may be important to determine whether there were others he assisted and the nature of those services."

Selig recently announced an investigation into steroid use in baseball to be headed by retired U.S. Sen. George Mitchell. Boyle said he has not been contacted by the investigators.

In the letter to Selig, Boyle wrote that he is a "lifelong baseball fan, a citizen, and a concerned parent and grandparent."

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press