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Bonds goes on trial Monday for 2003 testimony

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Bonds goes on trial Monday for 2003 testimony

March 19, 2011
GIANTS PAGE GIANTSVIDEO

(AP) -- When Barry Bonds walked into the federal courthouse in San Francisco on Dec. 4, 2003, his career total stood at 658 home runs, baseball had yet to institute drug testing with penalties and the Giants were nearly a half-century removed from their last World Series title.Much has changed since the brawny, contentious slugger spent 2 hours, 53 minutes answering questions from a pair of assistant U.S. attorneys and grand jurors examining drug use in sports.Baseball's Steroids Era receded somewhat as players and owners started mandatory testing and then toughened the rules three times. Bonds won his seventh MVP award in 2004 and broke Hank Aaron's career home run record in 2007.And then on Nov. 15, 2007, exactly 50 days since he took his final big league swing and 100 after topping Aaron, Bonds was indicted on charges he lied to the grand jury when he denied knowingly using performance-enhancing drugs. Even though he wanted to continue playing, all 30 major league teams shunned him. And without Bonds, the Giants last year won their first title since 1954.Starting Monday, a jury will be selected in the very same court house where Bonds testified all those years ago to determine whether he broke the law with four short answers totaling nine words: "Not that I know of," "No, no," "No," and "Right."Each of the charges - four counts of making false statements to the grand jury and one count of obstruction - carry a possible sentence of up to 10 years, although federal guidelines make a total of 15 to 21 months more probable if Bonds is convicted.Prosecutors claim he lied to protect the legacy of a career in which he hit home runs at an unprecedented pace, especially for someone his age. Bonds was 43 when he his 762nd, and last, home run.His apparent defense?He was truthful when told the grand jury he didn't know the substances he used were steroids, so even if they were performance-enhancing drugs, that isn't relevant to the charges against Bonds."If you look at the cases of athletes internationally over the years, the defenses of those athletes has been, 'I didn't know,'" said Dr. Gary Wadler, former chairman of the committee that determines the banned substances list for the World Anti-Doping Agency. "They clearly know. The question is: In a hearing, can you prove it? But they know. Of course, they know."Even if that is the case here, prosecutors may trouble convincing jurors.Much of the government's case has been gutted by the refusal of Greg Anderson to testify. Bonds' personal trainer and childhood friend was sentenced in 2005 to three months in prison and three months home confinement after pleading guilty to steroid distribution and money laundering for his role in the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (BALCO) case. He is likely to be jailed again next week because he is refusing to testify at Bonds' trial.Without Anderson to authenticate key evidence, U.S. District Judge Susan Illston ordered that prosecutors couldn't present three positive drug tests seized from BALCO and so-called doping calendars maintained by the trainer at the trial. Prosecutors tried and failed to get her decision overturned. The appeal delayed the trial by two years, but the government lost in a 2-1 vote by a panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.Prosecutors allege Bonds lied to the grand jury when he said he didn't take steroids Anderson gave him, never received human growth hormone from Anderson, never took anything Anderson asked him to take before the 2003 season other than vitamins, and never allowed anyone to inject him other than physicians.Bonds testified to the grand jury he was told by Anderson he was taking "flax seed oil," which the government alleges was a then-undetectable steroid later determined to be Tetrahydrogestrinone (THG), developed by Patrick Arnold for BALCO and known as "the clear." Bonds also testified he used a lotion that Anderson told him was a balm for pain relief, which the government claims was a testosterone-based substance known as "the cream."With Anderson refusing to testify, prosecutors intend to use the testimony of other athletes, including former AL MVP Jason Giambi, plus the a tape recording of Anderson speaking with then-Bonds assistant Steve Hoskins, to help prove their assertion that Bonds knew what he was taking.A urine test Bonds took on June 4, 2003, for baseball, which later was found to be positive for THG, also will be introduced along with a July 7, 2006, urine test for baseball that was positive for an amphetamine. And Bonds' former mistress, Kimberly Bell, will be asked to testify about changes to Bonds' body and demeanor the government asserts were caused by steroids.With the well-established group of BALCO prosecutors led by Matthew A. Parrella and Jeffrey D. Nedrow battling against Bonds' high-priced legal team of half-a-dozen-plus attorneys, the case could come down to how much doubt Bonds' side raises about the government's evidence. The standard for criminal conviction is "beyond a reasonable doubt," not "without any doubt."Thus far, the highest-profile athlete sent to prison in the BALCO investigation has been track star Marion Jones, sentenced to six months in prison after pleading guilty to lying to federal investigators when she denied using performance-enhancing drugs and to a second count of lying about her association with a check-fraud scheme.Led by Jeff Novitzky, the tall and imposing lead investigator, the government has been criticized by some for spending millions of dollars on the investigation of Bonds and the separate probe of cyclist Lance Armstrong, who has not been charged. And Novitzky and prosecutors were rebuffed by the 9th Circuit, which ruled they illegally seized the tests results of about 100 baseball players not involved in the BALCO case.Yet former baseball Commissioner Fay Vincent sees value in the prosecution."The legal system has to count on people telling the truth and therefore the government will take seriously charges of lying to federal organizations," he said. "It's important for the federal system."Illston has urged the sides to try to reach an agreement without a trial, but that recommendation seems to have gone nowhere. And Bonds is only the first Steroids Era baseball star to face a jury. Starting July 6, seven-time Cy Young Award winner Roger Clemens goes on trial in Washington on three counts of making false statements, two counts of perjury and one count of obstruction of Congress.How Bonds and Clemens are viewed on the 2013 Hall of Fame ballot - and beyond - will be determined by these verdicts. Bonds' season record of 73 home runs and his career mark have been dismissed by some, perhaps many. Now 46, Bonds' statements, accomplishments, physique and reputation will be under scrutiny like never before."Obviously some of the romance and mythology of all sports has been diminished," broadcaster Bob Costas said. "That's just a consequence of the modern age. But I think that it's mostly because of the direct linkage to steroids."

Sharks dominate Ducks for two wins in two nights

Sharks dominate Ducks for two wins in two nights

BOX SCORE

ANAHEIM -- Mikkel Boedker had two goals and an assist, Joe Thornton had a goal and an assist, and the San Jose Sharks beat the Anaheim Ducks 6-2 on Sunday night.

Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Kevin Labanc and Melker Karlsson also scored for the Sharks, who have won five of six. Aaron Dell stopped 33 shots.

Rickard Rakell and Ryan Getzlaf scored for Anaheim. John Gibson stopped only 17 of 22 shots and was replaced after giving up his fifth goal. Anaheim had a four-game home winning streak snapped.

Four goals came in the third period. First, Anaheim pulled within one when Ondrej Kase stole the puck from behind the net and quickly fed Getzlaf, who fired it past Dell.

One minute later, the Sharks answered when Thornton's slap shot went in.

Boedker's second goal gave San Joe a 5-2 lead, and Karlsson's goal on goalie Ryan Miller made it a runaway.

The Ducks first found the net in the final minute of the second period, but that took a two-man advantage and a bit of luck.

Rakell was camped a few feet below the crease when he snapped a shot. San Jose's Justin Braun stuck out a stick, but it deflected the puck off the back of Dell's arm and into the net.

It was Rakell's team-high 17th goal this season.

San Jose appeared to take a commanding 3-0 lead on a power play in the second period. Boedker fired a shot from the top of the right circle that whistled past Gibson.

The Sharks took a 2-0 lead early in the second period when Anaheim's No.1 line turned the puck over. Thornton snapped it out to Labanc, who popped free for a breakaway. He beat Gibson on his short side for his fifth goal.

The Sharks took a 1-0 lead late in the first period on a nifty give-and-go when Tomas Hertl skated down the far side and sent a pass through the legs of Anaheim's Brandon Montour and right to Vlasic in front of the net.

Vlasic snapped it past Gibson for his seventh goal of the season.

UP NEXT

Sharks: Return to San Jose on Tuesday night to play the Jets.

Ducks: Remain at home to play the Rangers on Tuesday night.

49ers veteran expected to play in Pro Bowl thanks to Eagles

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USATSI

49ers veteran expected to play in Pro Bowl thanks to Eagles

Veteran 49ers left tackle Joe Staley is expected to benefit from the Philadelphia Eagles’ trip to the Super Bowl.

Staley, originally chosen as an alternate, is expected to be named to his sixth Pro Bowl to take the place of Eagles Pro Bowl tackle Lane Johnson.

The Pro Bowl will be played Sunday, Jan. 28, in Orlando, Florida. Members of the Super Bowl participant Eagles and New England Patriots will not play in the all-star game. The Eagles advanced to the Super Bowl on Sunday with a 38-7 victory over the Minnesota Vikings.

The other Pro Bowl offensive tackles representing the NFC are Dallas’ Tyron Smith and Los Angeles’ Andrew Whitworth, who replaced Washington’s Trent Williams.

Staley got off to a rough start last season as the 49ers opened on a nine-game losing streak. The idea of his career coming to an end began to creep into his mind, he said recently on the 49ers Insider Podcast.

But Staley said he had a talk with coach Kyle Shanahan that got him refocused for the remainder of the season. The 49ers finished with a five-game win streak to finish with a 6-10 record, and Staley played well down the stretch.

“I’m so far gone from where I was in that moment early in the year that I’m just focused on next year and, hopefully, years after that,” said Staley, 33, an 11-year NFL veteran. “I feel like I can still play.

“I think this last half of the season I played some of the best football of my career. I feel very confident in what we’re doing schematically with the people surrounding us, and it shows in my own play.”

Staley would join fullback Kyle Juszczyk, who was the only 49ers player named to the Pro Bowl when the teams were announced last month.