A federal judge urged Barry Bonds’ weight trainer today to break his silence regarding the former Giants star and steroids.
At a hearing in U.S. Court in San Francisco, Judge Susan Illston told Greg Anderson, who pleaded guilty to steroid distribution in the BALCO sports doping scandal, that he is going back to prison if he refuses to testify at Bonds' trial on charges of lying under oath about using steroids. It’s set to begin March 21.
But if Anderson testifies, the judge said it was likely that a long list of his other sports clients will not have to come to court and describe the banned drugs they say Anderson gave them. The clients include Jason Giambi, the former Oakland A’s and New York Yankees star, and onetime Giants Benito Santiago, Bobby Estalella, Marvin Benard and Armando Rios.
Anderson, a husky man with a goatee, stood at a podium and listened to the judge. Bonds sat a few feet away in the crowded courtroom, at a table with six lawyers.
”He will not testify,” said Anderson’s lawyer, Mark Geragos.
Anderson didn't say anything, but he nodded yes when the judge asked if he intends to remain silent.
“You will very likely be ordered into custody for the duration of the trial,” the judge said. “Also, the consequences for these other folks who used to be your customers will happen as well.”
She ordered Anderson back into court after jury selection is under way.
Bonds, holder of baseball’s career home run record, is charged with perjury and obstruction of justice, accused of falsely telling a grand jury in 2003 that he had never knowingly used steroids. He has pleaded not guilty.
Anderson, who was Bonds’ friend in Little League and his trainer when he became baseball’s home run king, has already served six months in prison on his BALCO conviction. Then he served more than a year in prison for contempt of court after he refused to cooperate with the Bonds perjury probe.
The trainer's silence has been costly to the government. The judge has ruled that unless Anderson testifies, prosecutors may not show the jury a stack of doping calendars and private steroid test results that were seized in a 2003 raid on the Bay Area Laboratory Cooperative steroid mill in Burlingame.
Prosecutors say Anderson kept the calendars and arranged the private tests to track Bonds’ use of designer steroids, human growth hormone, insulin and other performance-enhancing drugs. But without Anderson to verify the documents they can’t be used in the trial, the judge has ruled.
Anderson's latest jail term would be limited to the three or four weeks it takes to complete Bonds’ trial. But prosecutors are contemplating filing new charges against Anderson after Bonds’ trial is concluded, seeking to punish him for obstructing their investigation of Bonds, according to a source familiar with the matter.
Also at Tuesday’s hearing, the judge rebuffed pleas from Bonds' legal team to further pare back the evidence prosecutors may present to the jury.
The defense had asked the judge not to allow Bonds’ former girlfriend, Kimberly Bell, to testify about an incident in an airport hotel room in 2003, when by Bell’s account Bonds choked her and threatened to kill her.
The government says the incident may have been so-called “roid rage,” a surge of anger characteristic of steroid abuse.
Defense lawyer Cristina Arguedas said the incident never occurred, and contended that telling the jury about it might prejudice the jury against Bonds. But the judge said she wouldn’t bar the testimony. Bell also will be permitted to testify about Bonds’ sex life; she has claimed that the former Giants slugger suffered from sexual dysfunction – another possible steroid side effect, according to the government.