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Bonds appears in court, asks to keep two lawyers

12/21/2007 - MLB Barry Bonds

SAN FRANCISCO -- Barry Bonds told a judge Friday that he
wants two top-notch Bay Area defense lawyers to head his legal team
even though they previously represented potential witnesses against
the slugger.

Bonds, who is charged with perjury and obstruction of justice
for allegedly lying to a federal grand jury about his steroid use,
appeared briefly in U.S. District Court after prosecutors raised
conflict-of-interest concerns about defense attorneys Allan Ruby
and Cris Arguedas.

Bonds, dressed in a baggy, light blue suit, stood erect in front
of the judge with his hands on the podium.

Speaking softly in response to a series of questions by U.S.
District Judge Susan Illston, baseball's home run king said he
wanted the two lawyers to represent him, even though lead attorney
Ruby had earlier represented Bonds' personal surgeon Dr. Arthur
Ting and Arguedas represented former track star Tim Montgomery.

"The concern is that their prior representation may impact
their representation of you," Illston said.

Illston did not immediately rule on whether to disqualify Ruby
and Arguedas and asked Bonds to file a written declaration by Jan.
4, though she appeared inclined to let Bonds keep the lawyers.

Bonds answered "yes" when the judge asked him if his lawyers
explained their potential conflicts before he hired him earlier
this month. Bonds' longtime criminal defense attorney Michael Rains
also told the judge he explained to Bonds the conflict issues.

Bonds declined to comment as he left court, this time through a
smattering of media much smaller than the crushing, chaotic scene
of his arraignment Dec. 7.

Prosecutors said Montgomery likely won't be called to the
witness stand, but they said in court papers they probably will
call Ting as a witness at trial. They're concerned Ruby won't
conduct a rigorous cross-examination of the doctor.

Ruby told the judge that he represented Ting for a month in 2005
when the doctor was ordered to turn over Bonds' medical records to
investigators. Ting also testified in 2006 before the grand jury
investigating Bonds for perjury.

Ting accompanied Bonds to the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative
to draw the slugger's blood, which was privately tested for
steroids. According to the indictment charging Bonds with perjury and
obstruction, two of those tests came back positive.

"I think it needs to be made clear that there is no suggestion
by anyone of any wrongdoing," Ruby said of Ting.

Arguedas represented disgraced track star Montgomery and three
former professional football players who testified about their
steroid use to a grand jury investigating a steroids ring based at
BALCO.

By waiving conflict-of-interest issues, Bonds is precluded from
appealing any conviction because of the lawyer's previous
representation.

Bonds' attorneys also pushed back their next appearance in court
for setting up future court dates from Feb. 7 to Feb. 8. Bonds will
not appear at that hearing.