Superseding indictment breaks up perjury counts against Bonds

Updated: May 14, 2008, 3:40 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

SAN FRANCISCO -- Barry Bonds was charged in a new indictment Tuesday with 15 felony counts alleging he lied to a grand jury when he denied knowingly using performance-enhancing drugs use and that he hampered the federal government's doping investigation.

The filing was first reported by ESPN's T.J. Quinn.

The career home run leader originally was charged in November by a federal grand jury with four counts of perjury and one count of obstruction of justice.

The new indictment was issued in response to a February ruling by U.S. District Judge Susan Illston, who agreed with a defense motion that the initial indictment was potentially vague and ambiguous. The primary point was that the government charged several different lies in single counts, presenting potential problems for a jury.

On Tuesday, a grand jury handed up a superseding indictment charging Bonds with 14 counts of making false declarations to a grand jury in 2003 and one count of obstruction of justice. No new lies were alleged in the new indictment and Bonds wouldn't serve additional prison time if convicted.

While federal prosecutors tripled the number of charges against Bonds, he faces the same amount of prison time he did under the original indictment.

Legal experts said given Bonds' clean criminal record and the nature of the charges, the home run king faces up to 2½ years in prison if convicted of all 14 counts of making false declarations to a grand jury and one count of obstruction of justice. If Bonds is convicted of all counts, he is expected to be sentenced to serve the prison term of each charge concurrently rather than consecutively.

"It's exactly the same," Golden Gate University law professor Peter Keane said. "It's two ways of saying it's lying and there's really no substantial difference between what he was charged with then and what he is charged with now."

The Indictment

The government added counts to Barry Bonds' indictment in his perjury case related to grand jury testimony on performance-
enhancing drugs. Check out the actual text. Bonds indictment (pdf)

The case against Bonds remains built on whether he lied when he told the grand jury that his personal trainer, Greg Anderson, never supplied him with steroids and human growth hormone.

"Barry Bonds is innocent," the player's lead attorney, Allen Ruby, said. Ruby said Bonds would appear in court to plead not guilty to the new charges.

Bonds' next hearing already had been scheduled for June 6 before the new indictment was unsealed, but Ruby said it is unclear whether Bonds' will be expected to enter a plea then.

The Major League Baseball Players Association said last week it was investigating whether to file a collusion grievance against teams for not pursuing Bonds, who became a free agent when the San Francisco Giants decided they didn't want him back after 15 seasons.

The 43-year-old outfielder, a seven-time NL MVP, says he wants to play this year and his agent claims no team has made an offer for the 14-time All-Star. Bonds hit 28 homers last year to raise his total to 762, seven more than Hank Aaron's previous record.

Information from ESPN.com's Mark Fainaru-Wada and The Associated Press was used in this report.

ALSO SEE