SAN FRANCISCO — Prosecutors will be able to use former Major League Baseball players as witnesses in the perjury trial of Barry Bonds but will be banned from presenting numerous documents as supporting evidence.
US District Court Judge Susan Illston made the ruling Friday ahead of the perjury trial of US baseball's all-time home run king scheduled to begin March 21, 10 days before the opening of the 2011 Major League Baseball season.
The decision sets the framework for what could be a blockbuster case as Bonds faces 10 counts of perjury and a count of obstructing justice for telling a grand jury in 2003 that he never knowingly used performance-enhancing drugs.
Bonds, 46, attended the hearing. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges stemming from his testimony to a grand jury looking into the BALCO steroid case that rocked baseball and athletics.
Attorneys for Bonds said players should be excluded for their ties to Greg Anderson, the former personal trainer of Bonds who is refusing to cooperate with prosecutors. Anderson was among those convicted in the BALCO case.
Anderson, who served a year in prison for refusing to testify to the grand jury which brought charges against Bonds, is expected to be brought to court in March and face further punishment if he does not testify.
While Illston said there could be limits to what players could speak about once they take the stand, she said their testimony could shed light on Bonds and his relationships with Anderson and other BALCO scandal figures.
Jason Giambi, Jeremy Giambi, Randy Velarde, Benito Santiago, Bobby Estalella, Armando Rios and Marvin Benard, some of them former Bonds teammates with the San Francisco Giants, are among those prosecutors plan to call.
"Anderson provided them with detailed instructions and explained to them these were steroids," federal prosecutor Matt Parrella said.
Prosecutors hope to show through their testimony that there was no way Bonds would not have known he was taking performance-enahncing substances.
But Illston denied prosecution requests to show documents aimed at linking Bonds to steroid taking and allegedly positive steroid tests in 2000 and 2001.
In 2009, Illston disallowed much of that evidence, seized in a 2003 raid as part of the BALCO scandal probe, because it could not be linked to Bonds without testimony from Anderson.
She stressed that any references to the documents, some of which were seized from Anderson's home, will be kept from the jury.
Prosecutors say three urine tests show Bonds testing positive for steroids during his record-setting runs to the all-time and one-season major league home run records.
In 2007, Bonds set the all-time Major League Baseball homer record of 762, breaking Hank Aaron's prior mark of 755 but booed by fans outside San Francisco who considered him a dope cheat for his BALCO steroid scandal links.
In 2001, Bonds hit a one-season major league record of 73 homers.
Another hearing is set for February 11 involving the admissibility of a conversation between Anderson and Steve Hoskins, a former business partner of Bonds, that Hoskins secretly recorded in 2003 in the Giants' locker room.
Anderson reportedly tells how he helped Bonds prevent infections by injecting him in several different places on his rear. Bonds reportedly told the BALCO grand jury that he received injections only from his doctor.
Copyright © 2013 AFP. All rights reserved. More »