By PAUL ELIAS
Associated Press Writer
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Barry Bonds, baseball's home run king, was
indicted for perjury and obstruction of justice Thursday and could
face prison instead of the Hall of Fame for telling a federal grand
jury he did not knowingly use performance-enhancing drugs.
The indictment, culminating a four-year investigation into
steroid use by elite athletes, charged Bonds with four counts of
perjury and one of obstruction of justice. If convicted, he could
be sentenced to a maximum of 30 years in prison.
Shortly after the indictment was handed up, Bonds' personal
trainer, Greg Anderson, was ordered released after spending most of
the past year in prison for refusing to testify against his
"During the criminal investigation, evidence was obtained
including positive tests for the presence of anabolic steroids and
other performance enhancing substances for Bonds and other
athletes," the indictment said.
In August, when the 43-year-old Bonds passed Hank Aaron to
become baseball's career home run leader, he flatly rejected any
suggestion that this milestone was stained by steroids.
"This record is not tainted at all. At all. Period," Bonds
Bonds finished the year with 762 homers, seven more than Aaron,
and is currently a free agent. In 2001, he set the season record
with 73 home runs.
Late in the season, the San Francisco Giants told the seven-time
National League MVP they didn't want him back next year.
Bonds could not immediately be reached for comment. One of his
attorneys, John Burris, didn't know of the indictment before being
alerted by The Associated Press and said he would call Bonds to
"I'm surprised," Burris said, "but there's been an effort to
get Barry for a long time. I'm curious what evidence they have now
they didn't have before."
Bonds' defense attorney, Mike Rains, declined comment because he
hadn't seen a copy of the indictment.
"However, it goes without saying that we look forward to
rebutting these unsupported charges in court," Rains said. "We
will no doubt have more specific comments in the very near future
once we have had the opportunity to actually see this indictment
that took so long to generate."
Bonds is scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court in San
Francisco on Dec. 7.
Bonds has never been identified by Major League Baseball as
testing positive for steroids.
"I have yet to see the details of this indictment and while
everyone in America is considered innocent until proven guilty, I
take this indictment very seriously and will follow its progress
closely," commissioner Bud Selig said.
Union head Donald Fehr said he was "saddened" to learn of
"However, we must remember, as the U.S. Attorney stated in his
press release today, that an indictment contains only allegations,
and in this country every defendant, including Barry Bonds, is
entitled to the presumption of innocence unless and until such time
as he is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt."
The White House weighed in, too.
"The president is very disappointed to hear this," Bush
spokesman Tony Fratto said. "As this case is now in the criminal
justice system, we will refrain from any further specific comments
about it. But clearly this is a sad day for baseball."
Bush, who once owned the Texas Rangers, called Bonds to
congratulate him in August when the Giants' outfielder broke the
home run mark. "You've always been a great hitter and you broke a
great record," Bush said at the time.
Former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell, who is
investigating drug use in baseball, declined comment. So did Hall
of Fame vice president Jeff Idelson.
Bonds was charged in the indictment with lying when he said he
didn't knowingly take steroids given to him by Anderson. Bonds is
also charged with lying that Anderson never injected him with
"Greg wouldn't do that," Bonds testified in December 2003 when
asked if Anderson ever gave him any drugs that needed to be
injected. "He knows I'm against that stuff."
Anderson's attorney, Mark Geragos, said the trainer didn't
cooperate with the grand jury that indicted Bonds.
"This indictment came out of left field," Geragos said.
"Frankly I'm aghast. It looks like the government misled me and
Greg as well, saying this case couldn't go forward without him."
Prosecutors promised Bonds they wouldn't charge him with any
drug-related counts if he testified truthfully. But according to
the indictment, Bonds repeatedly denied taking any steroids or
performance-enhancing drugs despite evidence to the contrary.
For instance, investigators seized a so-called "doping
calendar" labeled "BB" during a raid of Anderson's house.
"He could know other BBs," Bonds replied when shown the
calendar during his testimony.
Asked directly if Anderson supplied him with steroids, Bonds
answered: "Not that I know of." Bonds even denied taking steroids
when he was shown documents revealing a positive steroids test for
a player named Barry B.
Bonds said at the end of the 2003 season, Anderson rubbed some
cream on his arm that the trainer said would help him recover.
Anderson also gave him something he called "flax seed oil," Bonds
Bonds then testified that prior to the 2003 season, he never
took anything supplied by Anderson - which the indictment alleges
was a lie because the doping calendars seized from Anderson's house
were dated 2001.
Bonds became the highest-profile figure caught up in the
government investigation, launched in 2002, with the raid of the
Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (BALCO) - the Burlingame-based
supplements lab that was the center of a steroids distribution
Bonds has long been shadowed by allegations that he used
performance-enhancing drugs. The son of former big league star
Bobby Bonds, Barry broke into the majors with the Pittsburgh
Pirates in 1986 as a lithe, base-stealing outfielder.
By the late 1990s, he'd bulked up to more than 240 pounds - his
head, in particular, becoming noticeably bigger. His physical
growth was accompanied by a remarkable power surge.
Speculation of his impending indictment had mounted for more
than a year.
Associated Press Writer Chris Weber in Los Angeles contributed
to this report.
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)