Barry Bonds lied about steroid use to protect his athletic exploits, prosecutor says in closing argument
A federal prosecutor told jurors in the Barry Bonds perjury trial Thursday that the former San Francisco Giants slugger “was given every opportunity to tell the truth” when he denied that he knowingly using steroids but lied to protect a “powerful secret.”
Assistant U.S. Atty. Jeffrey Nedrow, in closing arguments after a three-week trial, said Bonds lied when he testified before a grand jury in 2003 because he feared that steroid use would “taint” his athletic achievements. Bonds holds the all-time major league record for career home runs.
“Deceit distorts justice,” Nedrow said, “and the defendant was deceitful when he testified to the grand jury.”
Nedrow told jurors to use their “common sense.” He asked if it was “plausible” that an athlete earning $17 million a year would blithely take drugs from his personal trainer without asking questions about what they contained.
“Ask if it is possible he really could have thought these things were flaxseed oil and arthritis cream,” Nedrow said.
Bonds, who looked grim and tense during the prosecutor's argument, had told the grand jury that he used two substances identified as steroids but that his personal trainer, Greg Anderson, had told them they were flaxseed oil and arthritis cream.
Referring to four baseball players who testified that Anderson supplied them with performance-enhancing drugs, Nedrow said: “You can infer Bonds knew he was getting injectible steroids.”
Nedrow reminded jurors that the four players admitted they realized that Anderson was giving them undetectable performance-enhancing drugs.
-- Maura Dolan in San Francisco
Photo: Former baseball player Barry Bonds, right, arrives Thursday at federal court for closing arguments in his perjury trial in San Francisco. Credit: Jeff Chiu / Associated Press