Appeal could delay Bonds trial for months

February 27, 2009 6:42:32 PM PST
The start of Barry Bonds' perjury trial has been postponed indefinitely. It was set to begin on Monday, but federal prosecutors Friday appealed to a higher court to win back crucial evidence that the judge threw out.

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The government's appeal was triggered by Greg Anderson's refusal to testify in the trial.

Bonds' trainer had been called to a special hearing Friday by Judge Susan Illston, who told Anderson his testimony is central to the government's case.

Illston warned Anderson that he will be subpoenaed in the upcoming trial and he "will be held in contempt of court and I will send you to custody until you decide to testify."

His answer was no surprise.

Anderson already spent more than a year in prison for refusing to testify against his close friend in grand jury proceedings.

Anderson's attorney Mark Geragos says loyalty was not the reason for his silence.

"The bottom line is these are prosecutors he does not trust; these are prosecutors who have made certain promises and he believes they've broken those promises," Geragos said.

Geragos refused to tell ABC7 what promises had been broken.

Read more about why one journalist thinks the whole trial is an IRS agent's person vendetta against Bonds.

Anderson's answer set off a legal chain reaction.

Prosecutors quickly appealed last week's decision by Illston, which threw out much of their key evidence. Illston said it amounted to hearsay without Anderson's testimony in court.

"That left the prosecution with a very shaky case, big holes in their case," ABC7 legal analyst Dean Johnson said. "Really, the appeal is a Hail Mary pass, but at this point there's nothing else they can do."

The trial will now be delayed until the appeals court makes its ruling, a process that could take months.

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