Appeals court orders Bonds' trainer back to prison

Updated: November 18, 2006, 5:50 PM ET
Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO -- A federal appeals court ruled Thursday that Barry Bonds' personal trainer must return to prison for refusing to testify before a grand jury investigating performance-enhancing drugs in professional sports.

Greg Anderson, 40, already has served two other brief prison stints for refusing to testify whether his boyhood friend lied when he said he never knowingly used steroids. Both times, Anderson, held in contempt of court, was released on procedural grounds.

Anderson must report to the Federal Correctional Institution in Dublin by Nov. 20 and could serve more than a year behind bars unless he agrees to tell the grand jury what he knows about Bonds' alleged steroids use.

The San Francisco Giants slugger, who's now a free agent, told a 2003 grand jury that he believed Anderson had provided him flaxseed oil and arthritic balm, not steroids.

Anderson's attorney Mark Geragos could not immediately be reached for comment.

Federal prosecutors believe Bonds committed perjury in 2003 when he appeared before another grand jury that was investigating the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative, which turned out to be a steroids ring.

Anderson was convicted in the BALCO probe, pleading guilty to steroid distribution and money laundering charges. He served three months in jail.

In July, Anderson served 15 days in prison for refusing to talk to the grand jury looking into Bonds' testimony but was released when the panel's term expired. He was held in contempt a second time after a new grand jury was formed but got out of prison after 37 days when the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals failed to uphold the citation within 30 days as the law requires.

Geragos argued Anderson shouldn't have to testify about whether he gave Bonds steroids, contending prosecutors illegally recorded him in 2004 on a tape in which Anderson is overheard discussing steroids.

Prosecutors say the recording was made during a face-to-face meeting and wasn't obtained improperly. A lower court judge ruled the recording, which was made by an unidentified person, was legal and did not prejudice the grand jury against Anderson, as Anderson claimed.

The San Francisco-based appeals court agreed Thursday with the lower court, ruling there was ample evidence beyond the tape to justify the grand jury's interest in questioning Anderson about Bonds.

Prosecutors said the questions they want answered are based on athletes' secret testimony in the BALCO case and a search of Anderson's house that turned up drug records, some with Bonds' name on it.

Other than the tape dispute, the appeals court already had rejected the merits of Anderson's appeal. Among them, Anderson said his BALCO plea deal prevented him from cooperating with the government's steroid investigation.

The BALCO probe has netted five convictions and a pending indictment of Trevor Graham, track coach to Justin Gatlin, Tim Montgomery and Marion Jones and others.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press