Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Barry Bonds asks judge to toss out perjury case
SAN FRANCISCO -- Barry Bonds asked a federal judge to
dismiss perjury charges against him Wednesday, arguing the
indictment is "scattershot" and noted for its "striking
Bonds was charged in November with lying to a grand jury about
his use of performance-enhancing drugs.
In the motion filed in San Francisco federal court, the former
San Francisco Giant neither admits nor denies taking the drugs, but
argues the questions asked by prosecutors during a December 2003
grand jury appearance were vague, ambiguous and confusing.
The lawyers said "the questions posed to him by two different
prosecutors were frequently imprecise, redundant, overlapping and
Prosecutors asked Bonds several times whether personal trainer
Greg Anderson supplied him with steroids and other
performance-enhancing drugs beginning in 2000. Bonds answered
"no" or "not at all," but his lawyers argued the questions were
Bonds' lawyers asked U.S. District Judge Susan Illston to toss
the case or order prosecutors to streamline the indictment, which
cites 19 different instances of Bonds' alleged lying. Bonds, a free
agent, has pleaded not guilty to four charges of perjury and one
count of obstruction.
Prosecutor Matt Parrella declined comment.
Such motions to dismiss cases are frequently filed, though
rarely granted in federal criminal cases.
The court papers do offer an early glimpse at Bonds' legal
strategy. Legal experts said prosecutors must prove Bonds lied and
that their questions before the grand jury were direct and open to
Bonds' lawyers wrote "some portions of the indictment are so
vague that it is simply impossible to be certain what untruths Mr.
Bonds is alleged to have uttered."
Former Olympic cyclist Tammy Thomas, also charged with lying
about her drug use, similarly argued last year for her case to be
dismissed. She said multiple alleged instances of her lying were
lumped confusingly into a single charge.
U.S. District Judge Susan Illston, who's hearing all cases
related to the BALCO steroids ring, has not ruled on Thomas'
Illston is scheduled to hear from Bonds' legal team Feb. 29.