SAN FRANCISCO -- Thousands of pages of grand jury testimony related to the long-running steroids investigation of Barry Bonds and other athletes were unsealed Wednesday by a federal judge.
U.S. District Court Judge Susan Illston signed an order that allows prosecutors to share grand jury transcripts, medical lab reports and search warrant affidavits with Bonds' lawyers. It came in response to a request from the U.S. Attorney's office last week that the protective order on the documents be lifted to avoid possibly delaying Bonds' trial, scheduled to begin March 2.
Prosecutors also wanted to avoid "ambiguity" regarding their ability to disclose the documents to Bonds' attorneys. Prosecutors noted that much of the testimony had already been leaked to news media.
Lawyers for the former San Francisco Giants' outfielder could not be reached for comment.
Bonds, baseball's career home run leader, faces charges of making false statements and obstruction of justice for allegedly lying to a grand jury about whether he took performance-enhancing drugs. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
In August, Bonds' legal team asked for grand jury testimony of all witnesses involved in the probe, including current baseball players Jason Giambi and Gary Sheffield, former football player Bill Romanowski and disgraced Olympian Marion Jones.
The documents, however, will not be made public, according to Jack Gillund, a spokesman for U.S. Attorney Joseph Russoniello. He said testimony from the secret grand jury proceedings will remain closely guarded.