The trial of former San Francisco Giants outfielder Barry Bonds on four counts of perjury and one count of obstruction of justice commenced yesterday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California according to the San Francisco Chronicle. The charges against Bonds arise from his statements to a grand jury in 2003 in relating to an investigation into the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (BALCO) in Burlingame, California, and steriods. Bonds told the grand jury that he never knowingly used banned drugs. The transcript of his December 4, 2003, testimony may be read in full here. Jury selection took place yesterday.
The jurors’ names will be kept secret until the conclusion of the trial (however, the jury includes at least one Oakland Athletics fan). Opening statements are expected to take place today, followed by a hearing concerning Bonds’ former weight trainer, Greg Anderson. Anderson pled guilty in the BALCO case and has served a year in prison for refusing to cooperate in the investigation of Bonds. The prosecution has subpoenaed him as a witness at trial, however Anderson has stated his intention not to testify against Bonds. The Court has stated that it will rule Anderson in contempt if he refuses to testify and hold him in prison for the duration of the trial.
Bonds, who played as a left fielder for the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1986 to 1993, and for the Giants from 1993 to 2007, holds Major League Baseball records for home runs in a single season, is an all-time leader in walks and intentional walks, and is also the recipient of 14 All-Star awards, 8 Golden Glove awards and 7 Most Valuable Player awards.