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Barry Bonds perjury trial gets under way

Barry Bonds arrives at the federal courthouse in San Francisco, Monday, March 21, 2011. The Bonds perjury trial is finally scheduled to get under way, more than three years after baseball's all-time home run leader was charged with lying to a federal grand jury when he denied knowingly taking performance-enhancing drugs. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
March 21, 2011 8:31:51 PM PDT
It took all day, but a jury has been seated in the Barry Bonds perjury case. It has been a long road here, beginning with the BALCO lab raid in 2003 and then the Bonds indictment four years ago. Members of the jury include a food server, an IT manager and a Masters student.

Bonds left the courthouse with his private security guards. Inside the courtroom, he sat quietly at the defense table, standing only once when one of his lawyers introduced him to the jury pool.

The defense team says they are confident they have a jury that can put aside anything they already know about the case and weigh only the evidence presented in court.

"It's about finding 12 people who will do exactly what they're job is, which is to pay attention to the evidence that is presented to them, that has been vetted by cross examination which nothing else has up until today," Bonds' attorney Chris Arguedas said. "So these people are going to be the true experts in this case."

The jury is made up of eight women and four men. Only two are black, both women.

Bonds' defense team says race and gender do not matter.

"I think it would be borderline disrespectful for me to say, 'Well, we had so many men or so manytall people or so many red-haired people,'" Bonds' attorney Allen Ruby said. "That's not how we're looking at this; we have a fair, impartial jury who were selected after an open process."

One juror, who was in the courtroom but later dismissed, told the judge he might be reluctant to render a judgment against a "great athlete like Mr. Bonds." Another who was dismissed said he feels, "Steroids are like cheating. You have an advantage over the other players. It's not fair."

Bonds is being tried on four charges of perjury and one count of obstruction of justice. He is accused of lying to a 2003 grand jury about whether he knowingly used steroids.

Reporters asked his lead defense attorney how important the word "knowingly" is in this case.

"Adverbs, adjectives, we think this should be a court of equal dignity in the analysis of what did or didn't happen here," Ruby said.

The trial will continue Tuesday with Bonds' former trainer Greg Anderson appearing before the judge, where he is expected to tell her once again that he refuses to testify against his childhood friend. The judge is expected once again to send Anderson to jail.

From there, the trial will move onto opening statements. The trial is expected to last four to five weeks.


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