Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Barry Bonds: Indictment Pending [J. Mark English]

and T.J. QUINN in New York

Barry Bonds has played in 13 All-Star Games during his career, but during yesterday's All-Star media sessions he seemed like one of those old Soviet leaders who were airbrushed out of photographs when they fell out of favor with their peers.
While the players themselves tried to avoid any topic outside the gentle fairways of good news, the U.S. Attorney's office in San Francisco is mulling over whether it will seek an indictment against Bonds, perhaps as soon as next week. Bonds is facing possible indictment for perjury and tax evasion, and the grand jury that has been hearing evidence against him is due to expire within the next couple of weeks.
Generally, several attorneys said, when a grand jury comes to the end of its term, a prosecutor will seek an indictment. Getting the indictment isn't difficult: As former New York State chief justice Sol Wachtler famously told the Daily News in 1985, a grand jury would "indict a ham sandwich."
But if Kevin Ryan, the U.S. attorney in San Francisco, gets the indictment he wants from the grand jury, "it will be because they believe they have enough to convict, not because they think it will give them leverage or result in a plea or something like that," said Long Island attorney Rick Collins, the author of "Legal Muscle: Anabolics in America."
Bonds' longtime friend and personal trainer, Greg Anderson, one of four men convicted in the BALCO steroid trafficking case, was sent back to prison by a judge last week and denied bail for refusing to testify before the grand jury. (Anderson's attorney yesterday asked a California appeals court to allow his client to be freed on bail.) Though Anderson is not available, several other key witnesses have appeared. Among them: Bonds' former physician Arthur Ting; Giants trainer Stan Conte (no relation to BALCO founder Victor); and Kimberly Bell, who reportedly told the grand jury that Bonds gave her about $80,000 in possibly undeclared cash and admitted to her he used anabolic steroids before he was introduced to BALCO.
Bonds told a grand jury in December 2003 that he did not knowingly take performance-enhancing drugs.