The judge in the Barry Bonds perjury case said yesterday that she is leaning toward not allowing the federal government to use alleged positive steroid tests as evidence in the upcoming trial.
Speaking during a hearing after Bonds pleaded not guilty for the third time to perjury charges, U.S. District Judge Susan Illston said her "preliminary thoughts" were to exclude the drug tests from 2000 and 2001, a doping calendar and other documents. However, she was leaning toward allowing the prosecution to use a recorded conversation in which Bonds' trainer, Greg Anderson, talks about Bonds' steroid use.
The government alleges that Bonds committed perjury in 2003 when he said under oath that he did not knowingly take steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs. His trial begins March 2; if convicted, baseball's home run king faces up to two years of jail time.
Bonds' alleged positive test results for the steroids methenelone and nandrolone from 2000 and 2001, which became public knowledge Wednesday when some documents were unsealed, are considered to be critical pieces of the prosecution's case that Bonds lied when he testified to a grand jury in December 2003.
But the fact that Illston is leaning toward letting the jury hear Anderson's voice in a conversation with a friend that was taped without his knowledge would be considered a victory for the prosecution because it is not likely that Anderson will agree to testify. He already has spent about a year in jail for refusing to testify.
Also included in the documents unsealed Wednesday was that the federal government expects doping expert Dr. Don Catlin to testify that the urine sample Bonds gave to Major League Baseball during the 2003 season tested positive for THG and clomid, an anti-estrogen drug, and also showed signs of synthetic testosterone.
Illston and the lawyers did not discuss that positive test during yesterday's hearing.
This story was supplemented with an Associated Press report.