Barry Bonds’s perjury trial, to be heard by an eight-woman, four-man jury that includes a data center engineer at Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN), two nurses and a business college student, is scheduled for opening statements today.
Bonds, 46, who holds Major League Baseball records for career and single-season home runs, faces four counts of perjury and one count of obstruction of justice for telling a 2003 grand jury he didn’t knowingly take performance-enhancing drugs. The trial in federal court in San Francisco is expected to last as long as four weeks.
Jury selection was completed yesterday in a five-hour court session attended by Bonds, his four attorneys and federal prosecutors. The jurors, who range in age from 19 to 68, include a retired cashier and a client services administrator at money management firm Dodge & Cox. The Amazon.com engineer is a former Air Force helicopter pilot in Vietnam.
“Athletes shouldn’t use steroids, that’s about it,” one selected juror, a 19-year-old business-college student, said in one of her answers in a questionnaire that was filled out by about 100 potential jurors called for the case.
U.S. District Judge Susan Illston has ordered that juror names remain sealed until after the trial is over. Jurors’ occupations and other details were listed on the questionnaires made public yesterday.
Federal prosecutors and Bonds’s attorneys agreed yesterday morning that 38 of the potential jurors should be dismissed based on their responses in the three-page questionnaire.
‘Barry Bonds Fan’
Thirty-six potential jurors then were questioned by Illston and lawyers for both sides before the 12 jury members and two alternates were selected. When Assistant U.S. Attorney Matt Parrella asked the 36 potential jurors who was a fan of the San Francisco Giants, Bonds’s former team, about a third of them raised their hands.
One member of the jury pool had been dismissed earlier because he said on the questionnaire that he couldn’t be objective about the facts of the case.
“I’m a Barry Bonds fan and I’m a huge S.F. Giants fan. It’s my life,” he wrote. “I don’t know if I could judge Mr. Bonds after providing me with so much entertainment. It’s an intimate relationship.”
Some of those rejected from the panel said they had already determined that Bonds was guilty.
“I was angry to hear of cheating in baseball,” a 43-year- old woman wrote. “I don’t like millionaire athletes who cheat by using steroids, then lie about it.”
Trainer to Appear
Illston has ordered Greg Anderson, Bonds’s former trainer, to appear in court to say whether he’ll testify for the government. Anderson’s attorney, Mark Geragos, said March 1 that Anderson, who prosecutors allege gave Bonds steroids, will refuse to testify.
Illston told Anderson she intends to send him to jail if he won’t take the stand. Anderson, who pleaded guilty to distributing steroids in 2005, spent more than a year in jail on civil contempt charges after he refused to testify before the federal grand jury investigating Bonds.
Bonds holds the major league career record with 762 home runs and the single-season record with 73 home runs in 2001.
The trial was postponed for two years as federal prosecutors unsuccessfully appealed a ruling that barred them from using as evidence certain documents they say show that Bonds tested positive for steroid use.
Giambi as Witness
Government attorneys may call former New York Yankee Jason Giambi and other baseball players to testify that they received steroids from Anderson, according to court documents.
The maximum sentence for each of the counts Bonds faces is 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Bonds, who was first charged in November 2007, has pleaded not guilty.
The case is U.S. v. Bonds, 07-00732, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco).