New trial date set for Barry Bonds

August 6, 2010 6:54:08 PM PDT
The Barry Bonds steroid case is set to begin on March 21, 2011, eight years from the beginning of the BALCO investigation.

It was 2007 when he was indicted on 10 counts of making false statements and one count of obstruction of justice, for his testimony before a 2003 grand jury investigating steroid distribution at BALCO labs.

Bonds' defense team was successful at blocking key positive drug test evidence before and they might try to take yet more evidence out of the government's case between now and the March 2011 start date.

When asked if he has exhausted all ability to limit evidence at this point, Bonds' defense attorney Allen Ruby said, "I'm not sure that's so."

Former San Francisco Chronicle reporter Lance Williams co-wrote "Game of Shadows" -- a book about Bonds and the BALCO investigation. He says even without the key drug test evidence, the government still has a case.

"They have lots of other evidence. They have a positive drug test from a MLB test that was applied to Bonds, they've got eyewitnesses who've seen him being injected," said Williams. But when asked if those eyewitnesses were credible, Williams replied, "Well that's why we have trials and juries."

"The positive MLB test was for THG, and that doesn't mean he knowingly took that. It would be very easy for someone to rub cream on you and it would create a positive test," said BALCO founder Victor Conte.

The case leading up to the Bonds trial began seven years ago with the raid on Conte's BALCO labs. He says he doesn't think he'll be called as a witness and he still thinks it might not go to trial, if the new U.S. attorney in San Francisco decides there are better ways to spend taxpayers' money.

"Just investigating and prosecuting me during the first two years, the number was over 12 million then. I went to Club Fed for 120 days which means that basically federal taxpayers paid $100,000 a day for me to be there with guys walking around smoking marijuana," said Conte.

So how much has this case cost taxpayers? One Yahoo sports writer closely following the case has put it at $50 million, but he hasn't explained how he got that figure. Williams says he can't find a source with that kind of data. The government would be able to pencil it out, but they are not talking.


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