Prosecutors defend Bonds indictment

September 24, 2008 6:26:56 PM PDT
Federal prosecutors urged a U.S. judge in San Francisco today to reject a bid by home-run champion Barry Bonds for dismissal of 10 of the 15 counts pending against him.

Government attorneys in a filing with U.S. District Judge Susan Illston disputed Bonds's claim that some of the questions posed to him during a 2003 grand jury session were "fundamentally ambiguous."

The prosecutors wrote, "In fact, the grand jury transcript demonstrates that Bonds understood the questions perfectly well and chose his answers carefully, if falsely."

Bonds, 44, is charged with 14 counts of false statements and one count of obstruction of justice in Dec. 4, 2003, testimony before a grand jury investigating sports steroids distribution by the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative, or BALCO.

He is accused of lying when he told the panel he never knowingly received steroids or human growth hormone and never received injections from his trainer, Greg Anderson.

The former San Francisco Giants slugger, who set the Major League Baseball record for home runs last year, is scheduled to go on trial in Illston's court March 2, 2009.

Last month, his six defense lawyers asked the judge to dismiss 10 of the 15 charges. Illston will consider the request at an Oct. 24 hearing.

Prosecutors argued in today's filing that the questions they posed to Bonds before the grand jury were in "plain language" and that Bonds never expressed any confusion when answering them.

Bonds is one of 11 people who were charged with either lying or sports drug distribution in the BALCO probe and is the only one still awaiting trial. The other 10 pleaded guilty or were convicted of various charges.


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