New grand jury to look at Bonds allegations
SAN FRANCISCO -- They aren't through with Barry Bonds, not yet.
|Cossack: Feds need evidence|
Barry Bonds escaped indictment Thursday, and Roger Cossack thinks that a lack of evidence is the only reason that could have happened.
With Bonds' personal trainer Greg Anderson refusing to testify to the federal grand jury, the government may be struggling to show that the San Francisco Giants' slugger committed a crime.
• For more Cossack, Click here.
The federal grand jury considering possible perjury and tax-evasion charges against the star slugger expired Thursday without an indictment. Hours later, Bonds' personal trainer, Greg Anderson, walked out of a prison where he spent two weeks for refusing to testify against his childhood friend.
"We are not finished," U.S. Attorney Kevin Ryan said. "We have postponed the decision [to indict] for another day in light of some recent developments."
Though prosecutors wouldn't confirm the existence of a new grand jury, Anderson's lawyer, Mark Geragos, said there was one.
He said his client has been subpoenaed to testify before a new panel that will take up the question of whether Bonds lied under oath when he said he never knowingly took performance-enhancing drugs. Geragos said Anderson won't budge.
"They can subpoena him every day for the rest of this year, and it doesn't matter," Geragos said. "He's not going to talk."
Bonds arrived at AT&T Park with his 16-year-old batboy son. As reporters moved toward his locker, team spokesman Blake Rhodes said Bonds would have no comment.
"First off, I would like to say that what happened today is not
a moment of joy for me, but one of temporary relief," Bonds said
in his latest posting on www.barrybonds.com. "This has been an
issue that has surrounded me for the past three years and I hope
that this is the end. ...
"An investigation happened and hopefully it is over. I do want to make it clear that there are no hard feelings for the legal process, but I feel there comes a point where everyone needs to move on."
Bonds hit his 722nd career home run Thursday night against San Diego, but left the ballpark without speaking to reporters.
Major League Baseball also declined to comment.
Giants owner Peter Magowan said he hoped to see a resolution soon.
"I think all of us would like to see a resolution, I mean everybody in baseball," Magowan said. "I'm sure the commissioner would like to see one, I'm sure Barry would like to see one, and I'm sure the fans would like to see one."
Speculation has been mounting for weeks that Bonds, one of the biggest names in professional sports, would be indicted Thursday with the grand jury expiring. His lawyers had said they were preparing a defense.
But soon after the grand jury reported to the federal courthouse for the final day of its probe, the U.S. Attorney's office issued a statement saying it "is not seeking an indictment [Thursday] in connection with the ongoing steroids-related investigation."
|Facts of the case|
Why is Bonds under investigation?
Did Bonds dodge a legal bullet Thursday?
• Get some answers to the basic Bonds saga questions. Click here.
"They don't even have enough to indict a ham sandwich, let alone Barry Bonds," the slugger's lawyer, Michael Rains, said.
Joseph Russienello, the U.S. Attorney in San Francisco from 1982 to 1990, said handing the case off to a new grand jury means the federal government can lock up Anderson for the length of the new grand jury's term, which could extend beyond a year. The threat of a lengthy jail term can convince even the most intransigent witnesses to cave.
"It's no longer a two-week vacation," Russienello said. "Twelve months usually has a way of getting people sensitized to giving truthful testimony."
Rains said there was "temporary relief in the news we heard today." But he seemed to back away slightly from Bonds' earlier statements that he didn't know the substances given to him by Anderson were steroids.
"He was suspicious in light of what he had read as to whether those were steroids or not," Rains told reporters outside the federal courthouse.
Anderson appears to be the key to whether perjury charges could stick against Bonds.
"We will continue to move forward actively in this investigation -- including continuing to seek the truthful testimony of witnesses whose testimony the grand jury is entitled to hear," said Luke Macaulay, a spokesman for Ryan.
Bonds testified in 2003 that he thought substances given to him by Anderson were arthritis balm and flaxseed oil. Authorities suspected Bonds was lying and that those items were "the clear" and "the cream" -- two performance-enhancing drugs tied to the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative, the lab exposed as a steroids supplier to top athletes in baseball, track and other sports.
Although Bonds was promised immunity as long as he told the truth, doubts soon surfaced.
• His former girlfriend, Kimberly Bell, testified the slugger told her he had used steroids, according to Bell's lawyer. Bonds' attorney accused Bell of trying to extort money from Bonds and using the platform to promote a book that never was published.
• IRS agent Jeff Novitzky, lead investigator in the steroids probe, said in court filings that BALCO founder Victor Conte told him Bonds used "the clear" on a regular basis.
• Federal agents who raided Anderson's house seized doping calendars, price lists and other documents pointing to Bonds' use of steroids and human growth hormone. Federal prosecutors say they need Anderson, in part, to interpret the calendars, which seem to spell out Bonds' schedule for using performance-enhancing drugs.
Anderson was one of five men convicted in the BALCO scandal. He was sentenced to three months behind bars and three months of home confinement in October after pleading guilty to money laundering and steroid distribution.
He was called to testify before the perjury grand jury and refused. A federal judge found him in contempt of court and ordered him jailed.
Geragos protested, saying Anderson was the victim of an illegal government wiretap and that because Anderson's refusal to cooperate with government investigators is noted in his earlier plea agreement, he cannot be forced to testify.
"He took three months in jail rather than cooperate," Geragos said.
He also says Anderson can't trust that his testimony will be kept confidential because other BALCO grand jury testimony has been leaked to the press. Excerpts of testimony by Bonds and other key players in the case was published by the San Francisco Chronicle.
Geragos said he plans to repeat the same arguments.
Bonds' lawyer said Bonds was elated when he heard of Anderson's release and asked when the two can start working out together again.
"He's hoping this is the end of it," Rains said, "but he doesn't know that, nor do I."
Allegations of steroid use long have plagued Bonds, who passed Babe Ruth in May to become second only to Hank Aaron on the career home run list. They intensified in late 2003, when he testified before the original BALCO grand jury, which took testimony from about two dozen athletes.
Without Anderson's help, prosecutors still could indict Bonds on charges alleging he failed to pay taxes on money made through sales of autographs and other memorabilia. There is also the possibility Bonds could be indicted on perjury charges without Anderson's testimony.
"There comes a point in time ... where everybody needs to move on," Rains said. "We hope we have arrived at that point today."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.