In Bonds Case, Lengthy Wait Has Raised Costs for Plaintiff and Prosecutors

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  1. #1
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    In Bonds Case, Lengthy Wait Has Raised Costs for Plaintiff and Prosecutors






    In Bonds Case, Lengthy Wait Has Raised Costs for Plaintiff and Prosecutors
    By ZUSHA ELINSON

    When Barry Bonds walked into San Francisco’s federal courthouse on Dec. 4, 2003, Buster Posey, the hero of the Giants’ 2010 world championship, was 16.

    Mr. Bonds, who was still an active player, wore a gray suit that morning. He was to testify before a grand jury investigating his personal weight trainer and his nutritionist, who were suspected of dispensing illegal performance-enhancing drugs.

    “Did you take steroids?” the federal prosecutor, Jeff Nedrow, asked Mr. Bonds, according to testimony later leaked to The San Francisco Chronicle.

    “No,” Mr. Bonds replied.

    The federal government’s contention that Mr. Bonds perjured himself effectively turns on that exchange. Mr. Bonds’s trial begins March 21, in the same courthouse where the case that became known as Balco — for the Bay Area Laboratory Co-operative at the center of the investigation — has been playing out for nearly a decade.

    Even inside the offices of the United States Attorney for the Northern District of California, some prosecutors have questioned the wisdom of continuing to pursue Mr. Bonds, according to several former attorneys from the office. They said that Mr. Bonds, the all-time home run leader, who has not played since 2007, was unlikely to serve prison time even if convicted, and that the case might have run its course.

    Balco, which began with a tip to the Internal Revenue Service in summer 2002, has swept up everyone from the mother-in-law of Mr. Bonds’s weight trainer to local journalists to a defense lawyer who was jailed for 16 months for leaking the Bonds testimony. There have been two trials and numerous appeals, during which around 200 motions were filed. Dozens of lawyers have participated in Balco and its related cases.

    “It’s a questionable use of resources, especially at a time when the budget is being cut, hiring is frozen and fraudsters are running amok,” said Richard Cutler, a former federal prosecutor who now works in Mountain View for the law firm Dechert L.L.P. “To have two or three attorneys, investigators and paralegals working full time on a perjury case against a baseball player raises questions about the prioritizing of prosecutions.”

    For all the prosecutors’ efforts, the 11 people charged in the investigation have served a total of just 48 months in prison. Mr. Bonds’s weight trainer, Greg Anderson, served 16 months for refusing to testify against his former client — five times longer than the three months he served for distributing steroids under the original charges.

    There appears to be no end in sight. Prosecutors may yet charge Mr. Anderson, a boyhood friend of Mr. Bonds, with criminal contempt after the perjury trial. He has said that he has no intention of testifying in that trial and that he is more than willing to go back to prison for the duration of the case.

    Prosecutors refused to comment publicly for this article. But privately they maintain that the Balco case, which brought unprecedented attention to the use of steroids by professional athletes, has been critically important and worthy of significant government resources. The case against Mr. Bonds, they said, shows that perjury — even by the rich and famous — will be taken seriously.

    “At the office or down at the gym, normal people might wonder why this is going on so long; it’s hard for some people to understand,” said Dave Anderson, who until recently served as the first assistant United States attorney. “But you have to understand that for prosecutors the grand jury is a cornerstone, and you can’t take perjury lightly.”

    It is unknown how much time and money the government has spent on Balco. Jack Gillund, a spokesman for the United States Attorney’s Office, declined to release figures detailing the number of hours worked by prosecutors and employees, or how much money has been spent. He cited a policy of not commenting on ongoing litigation.

    The case has been led by two career prosecutors working out of the United States Attorney’s Office in San Jose: Mr. Nedrow, described by legal observers as amiable and deceptively laconic, and Matt Parrella, a tenacious, hard-driving New Yorker.

    Mr. Parrella is the bad cop to Mr. Nedrow’s good cop, according to lawyers familiar with both men. Mr. Parrella spent years prosecuting homicides in New York before moving to Las Vegas and then to California, where he leads the computer-crimes unit for the United States Attorney’s Office.

    Matt Parrella
    The Bay Citizen

    A nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization providing local coverage of the San Francisco Bay Area for The New York Times. To join the conversation about this article, go to baycitizen.org.

    “Parrella is tenacious, aggressive, very smart and kind of big courtroom presence,” said Bill Keane, the defense lawyer for Trevor Graham, a track coach implicated in Balco. “Nedrow is easier-going by nature and more soft-spoken in court, but not to be underestimated.”

    Mr. Nedrow, who graduated from Stanford and earned his law degree at U.C.L.A, has worked in the United States Attorney’s Office since the 1990s. His sometimes-roundabout manner of questioning leads to comparisons with the television character Columbo.

    It was Mr. Nedrow’s meandering questioning of Mr. Bonds that led to the perjury case.

    As Mr. Nedrow confronted the player with evidence during the 2003 testimony, he said: “I got to ask, Mr. Bonds. There’s this number on a document with your name, and corresponding to Barry B. on the other document, and it does have these two listed anabolic steroids as testing positive in connection with it. Do you follow my question?”

    “I follow where you’re going, yeah,” Mr. Bonds replied.

    “I guess I got to ask the question again,” Mr. Nedrow said. “I mean, did you take steroids? And, specifically, this test is in November of 2000. So I’m going to ask you, in the weeks and months leading up to November 2000, were you taking steroids?”

    Mr. Bonds said no.

    It took the government four years to charge Mr. Bonds with perjury. Then, on the eve of his trial in February 2009, prosecutors appealed to admit evidence that has been disallowed because of Mr. Anderson’s refusal to testify. The government lost the appeal, which lasted two years.

    The case has also been prolonged by a flurry of motions from both sides.

    Mr. Bonds’s legal team is led by Allen Ruby and Cristina Arguedas, high-profile local lawyers who often represent business executives.

    Legal observers estimate that Mr. Bonds’s defense will have cost $3 million to $5 million by the time it all ends — a huge sum, but a fraction of his annual salary when he retired from the Giants. He made $15 million in his final season.

    The judge, Susan Illston, has urged the two sides to reach a settlement. Mr. Bonds has little incentive, however, because perjury convictions usually result in low penalties, according to legal analysts. But a guilty plea would significantly damage his legacy, already tainted, and perhaps end his chances for entry into baseball’s Hall of Fame.

    Since 2007, the prosecutors have indicted Mr. Bonds four times, each time readjusting the charges. There was also that two-year appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

    Mr. Anderson allegedly procured steroids and injected Mr. Bonds with them. Without his testifying, however, prosecutors are left with little direct evidence of Mr. Bonds’s steroid use. They will rely on testimony from four witnesses who say they have direct knowledge about his steroid use. Those include Mr. Bonds’s former mistress, who is expected to describe the physical effects of his steroid use during their 10-year relationship, including acne, baldness, issues related to his sexual performance and alleged testicular atrophy.

    They will also rely on testimony from several ex-major league players who are expected to testify that they got steroids from Mr. Anderson. Prosecutors will also ask the Giants’ clubhouse manager about possible uniform adjustments made because of changes in Mr. Bonds’s body.

    Seven years after Mr. Bonds allegedly lied to the grand jury, that is what the latest installment of the Balco case will turn on.





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  2. #2
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    Bonds should have done what A-Rod & Pettite did. Just admit it and move on. Now, he faces legal ramifications. What a dumb ass.

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    bonds is an idiot. he destroyed his legacy in baseball. with all his millions and millions and millions of dollars some people are probably under the impression he doesn't give a sht but i have a feeling he does. he devoted his life to baseball. that’s all he knows. he played it from the time he was a little kid up until his 40s. and now he'll be even more of a cast out than pete rose. never be in the hall of fame and despised by baseball fans and writers everywhere.

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    what about the waste of tax payer dollars on this bullshit?





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    wrk'n project mayhem
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prince View Post
    what about the waste of tax payer dollars on this bullshit?
    This hardly qualifies as gov experience but I worked at a summer camp one year run by the city. We were about two blocks from the biggest park inthe city. Rather than walk over for our weekly cookout and use a free grill they wasted $300 on a top of the line gas grill. The money we wasted on all kinds of stuff. There's no way it made money

    Money they waste on this witch hunt.. Yeah a bit more

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    unfortunately athletes find themselves quite often in bad situations

  7. #7
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    Fuck him. I can't lie to a grand jury and get away with it and neither should he. I hope they hang his ass.

    Don't forget Martha Stewart wasn't convicted of inside trading, she was convicted of lying to the feds.

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    Asomehow we cant find one banker who helped crash the whole fuckin worlds economy. Seriously where are the priorities? All the Ceo's sat infront of congress and claimed ignorance of what was happening all around them, how many of them are facing possible jail time for the massive frauds they presided over?

    Bonds used steroids and lied about it. Every fucking pro-athlete is juicing at some level, this is common knowledge. How is this a matter of national relevance.

    This is your government people, There is no money for after school programs, hell no money for premature baby care but somehow we can justify this bullshit. sickening.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by damage View Post
    Asomehow we cant find one banker who helped crash the whole fuckin worlds economy. Seriously where are the priorities? All the Ceo's sat infront of congress and claimed ignorance of what was happening all around them, how many of them are facing possible jail time for the massive frauds they presided over?

    Bonds used steroids and lied about it. Every fucking pro-athlete is juicing at some level, this is common knowledge. How is this a matter of national relevance.

    This is your government people, There is no money for after school programs, hell no money for premature baby care but somehow we can justify this bullshit. sickening.
    wow! I never really thought about it that way, but you are exactly right. Somehow, its "ok" for Wallstreet bankers to lie about financial matters which wrecked the lives and futures of everyone around them, but the feds will cut your nuts off for lying about using steroids to hit a god damn baseball. Makes no sense at all.
    Fucking Determined!

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