Jury pool won't be asked about A-Rod

Updated: February 17, 2009, 9:04 PM ET
Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO -- A judge on Tuesday barred attorneys in the Barry Bonds trial from asking potential jurors their opinion of Alex Rodriguez.

Bonds' attorneys wanted to ask people being considered for the jury whether they had heard of the New York Yankees third baseman and allegations that he used steroids.

In a press conference in Tampa Fla., on Tuesday, Rodriguez admitted for the second time that he used steroids for three years ending in 2003.

U.S. District Court Judge Susan Illston, with little comment Tuesday, told attorneys they cannot ask potential jurors about Rodriguez when they begin picking a jury in Bonds' trial.

The trial begins March 2. Lawyers are scheduled to ask potential jurors questions the next day about their jobs, personal life, connections to any witnesses in the trial and other questions designed to root out bias.

Potential jurors will also be asked: "Have you heard, read or seen anything about other cases concerning accusations of steroid use by athletes?" If the answer is yes, the potential juror will be asked to elaborate.

Bonds attended Tuesday's 45-minute hearing, where lawyers discussed how to pick a jury and other housekeeping items, including how to determine whether Bonds' personal trainer, Greg Anderson, will follow through on his vow not to testify at the trial.

Anderson spent a year in prison after refusing to testify before a grand jury investigating Bonds and the slugger's use of performance-enhancing drugs.

Anderson's attorney, Mark Geragos, has said that the trainer would refuse to testify at Bonds' trial. Prosecutors said in a court filing Friday that they intend to seek Anderson's jailing for the length of the monthlong trial on contempt of court charges if he refuses to testify.

On Tuesday, Illston said she would hold a special hearing before a jury is selected to determine Anderson's intention and begin contempt proceedings if he says he will refuse to testify.

Illston said she knew of no case in which a person was jailed twice for refusing to testify before a grand jury and at trial.


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press