Barry Bonds Perjury Trial Begins With First Pitch Strike

Mar 21, 2011, 12:16 by John Steele

With Barry Bonds' perjury trial getting underway in San Francisco today, the first pitch resulted in a swing and a miss as both prosecution and defense struggled to select jurors.

CBS Sports reports that 40 jurors were dismissed due to conflicts of interest ranging from a death in the family to an undying allegiance to the San Francisco Giants.

'I'm a Barry Bonds fan and I'm a huge SF Giants fan. It's my life. I don't know if I could judge Mr. Bonds after providing me with so much entertainment. It's an intimate relationship,' prospective juror No. 22 wrote on a questionnaire he filled out on Thursday. 'I don't think I could find him guilty.'

U.S. District Judge Susan Illston allowed the dismissals but has expressed concern over the lack of jurors, telling CBS that all these conflicts 'puts a relatively large hole in the prospective jurors.' After all the jury wrangling concluded, Illston now believes they will have just enough jurors to continue.

Bonds, who played for San Francisco when he hit 73 homers in a season and when he broke Hank Aaron's career home run record, has pleaded not guilty to one count of obstruction and four charges of lying to a grand jury when he denied knowingly taking performance-enhancing drugs.

Another swing-and-a-miss may come for prosecutors as they plan to attack Bonds with a reduced string of indictments--cut from the original 11 counts to five. But a report from NPR finds that this may make the prosecution's case stronger. Professor Michael McCann, director of the Sports Law Institute at the University of Vermont Law School, told NPR he thinks it could actually favor the prosecution "because they're really honing in on what they think are the core instances where Bonds allegedly lied."

The strikeout blow for the prosecution may be the testimony of Greg Anderson, a key witness who is now refusing to testify.

Anderson is Bond's former personal trainer and the man who allegedly gave Bonds � and even injected him with � doping products. According to NPR, it is now expected that Anderson will spend the duration of the trial in jail for refusing to cooperate.

Still, his voice will be heard thanks to a secretly-made audio recording in which a man alleged to be Anderson talks about, according to prosecutors, Bonds' use of undetectable drugs.

ESPN got a copy of the tape. It's hard to hear, as the man alleged to be Anderson speaks softly.

If the prosecution can swing through these tough pitches, the payoff is big for Bonds: a guilty verdict could mean a felony conviction and perhaps time in a prison cell.

Source: NPR