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Giants great Barry Bonds likely to avoid jail time in steroid case

December 16, 2011 |  7:20 am

Former San Francisco Giants slugger Barry Bonds is scheduled to be sentenced Friday for giving false testimony in a federal steroid investigation
Former San Francisco Giants slugger Barry Bonds is scheduled to be sentenced Friday for giving false testimony in a federal steroid investigation.

U.S. District Judge Susan Illston, who presided over Bonds' perjury trial earlier this year, has sentenced other athletes convicted of lying during the steroid investigation to probation and home confinement. Distributors of steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs have received prison sentences of three to four months.

The judge will decide whether Bonds should be confined to his home, imprisoned for 15 months or placed on probation when he is sentenced Friday for giving evasive testimony to a federal grand jury investigating sports doping.

Bonds, baseball's home run record holder, was tried for lying to a federal grand jury in 2003 that was investigating a Bay Area laboratory that was selling banned substances to athletes. A jury last April deadlocked on all the charges except one -- a federal obstruction-of-justice count.

Authorities first became interested in Bonds in the early 2000s after learning that the Giants superstar had appeared in an advertisement for the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative, which was authorities said was selling designer steroids and other drugs to professional athletes.

Bonds was one of 30 athletes summoned before the grand jury that was investigating the lab. Although given immunity in connection with testimony concerning illegal drug use, Bonds insisted that his trainer told him the two steroids he was taking were flaxseed oil and arthritis cream.

Prosecutors presented evidence that Bonds tested positive for a steroid and a fertility drug in a urine sample taken several months before his grand jury evidence. They also gave the jury a surreptitious recording of Greg Anderson, his former trainer, discussing how he injected steroids, in response to a question about Bonds.

Anderson refused to testify in the trial and was jailed for its duration. He has spent nearly two years behind bars, mostly because he would not cooperate with the investigation of Bonds.

Jurors heard three key prosecution witnesses: Steve Hoskins, a childhood friend who was close to Bonds for 10 years until the two had a falling-out in early 2003; Kimberly Bell, Bonds' girlfriend of nine years; and Kathy Hoskins, Steve's younger sister, who said she was packing Bonds' clothes for a road trip when she saw Anderson inject the ballplayer.

Prosecutors also presented four former major-league baseball players who testified that Anderson supplied them with drugs that they said they knew were designed to boost performance and escape detection.


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-- Maura Dolan in San Francisco

Photo: Barry Bonds leaves federal court in San Francisco in April. Credit: Noah Berger / Associated Press