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Appeals court weighs evidence in Barry Bonds perjury trial

September 17, 2009 |  1:43 pm
A federal appeals court today grappled over whether key evidence in the Barry Bonds perjury trial should be admitted, with one judge sharply questioning the prosecution and another challenging the defense.

Fabforum During a 30-minute hearing, a three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals heard federal prosecutors argue that a trial judge erred when she excluded laboratory logs and drug test results they said showed Bonds took banned substances.

The government is appealing a ruling by U.S. District Judge Susan Illston that prevented prosecutors from introducing the evidence in an attempt to show that Bonds lied under oath when he denied knowingly taking steroids.

Illston’s ruling, handed down on the eve of trial, was a major blow to the prosecution’s case against Bonds. Bonds’ trial has been delayed pending the appeal of that ruling.

Illston ruled that the evidence could not be admitted unless Greg Anderson, Bonds’ former trainer, tied the blood and urine samples to Bonds. Without his testimony, the evidence would be inadmissible hearsay, she said.

Anderson, who already has spent a year behind bars for refusing to cooperate with prosecutors, has said he would return to prison rather than testify.

Judge Stephen Reinhardt asked questions that appeared skeptical of the government’s case, while Judge Carlos T. Bea pummeled a lawyer for Bonds. Judge Mary M. Schroeder’s few comments did not clearly show how she was leaning.

The government is arguing that the evidence can be authenticated by a laboratory executive who would testify that Anderson told him the urine and blood samples at issue came from Bonds. Bonds told a grand jury that he gave Anderson urine and blood samples to be analyzed for possible nutritional deficiencies.

-- Maura Dolan in San Francisco

Photo: Barry Bonds during his playing days. Credi: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times.