The jury was selected Monday, and Tuesday, the real work of the Barry Bonds criminal trial began with someone going to prison. It wasn't Bonds, but a familiar figure in the BALCO and Bonds story, Greg Anderson who was ordered to be incarcerated for the duration of the proceedings. He can end that stint by agreeing to testify in accordance with a subpoena served on him by the federal prosecutors in the U.S. vs. Barry Bonds matter.
Anderson has consistently refused to cooperate with investigators, a grand jury and now the trial team of lawyers who got Bonds charged with four counts of perjury and one for obstruction of justice in connection with grand jury testimony from way back in 2003. For his trouble, Greg Anderson spent many months in jail and that was in addition to his own sentence for pleading guilty to trafficking in illegal steroids that were developed by the Bay Area Laboratory Co-operative, a/k/a BALCO.
The prosecution has long believed that without Anderson's testimony to authenticate private drug test results as well as a drug log he kept to document the steroid regime he administered to Bonds, that the case was less than a winner. Not that it couldn't be won but that it would be more difficult without Anderson's confirmation of what the prosecution believes is true, that Bonds lied under oath when he said he didn't know what he was taking was anything other than flax seed oil and a medicinal cream for his arthritis.
The federal team was willing to put the trial on hold for almost two years by appealing the trial judge's decision to exclude the logs and tests from admissible evidence without corroboration from Anderson. They have decided to carry on without him, leading many to wonder why, some four years after his initial indictment and almost eight years after the grand jury testimony at issue, would federal prosecutors still be bound and determined to spend two to four weeks making a case that Bonds is guilty of crimes.
Some of that has to do with the first witness on the prosecution's list. Jeff Novitsky is a former IRS special agent and investigator who led the team that brought down BALCO, its founder Victor Conte and ruined the lives of sports figures who got caught up in the steroid mess. Novitsky has become famous on his own partly as a result of his activities, well documented in the best selling book on the BALCO matter, "Game of Shadows".
He is reportedly now a member of the Criminal Investigations Unit of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration with a portfolio that consists of ridding the world of sports of illegal and banned substances. Lance Armstrong seems to be the next big fish in Novitsky's pond.
At least part of his argument for continuing to pursue Barry Bonds will more than likely include the fact that others did their time either in jail, on probation or house arrest in connection with the BALCO investigation. Some for lying under oath and some for participating in the drug trafficking. Even Roger Clemens is tainted by a figure that Novitsky got to flip and spill the beans about supplying baseball players with banned substances.
That person is Kirk Radomski, former N.Y. Mets clubhouse employee who was a dealer to Major League Baseball players. He fingered Clemens' former trainer Brian McNamee and in Clemens' manic attempts to clear his name from any connection with performance enhancing drugs he created a showdown with McNamee in a televised Congressional sub-committee hearing. Clemens is now awaiting his own perjury trial scheduled to commence this summer in Washington, D.C.
Without Novitsky's determined efforts to nab Barry Bonds, it is not out of the realm of reasonability to think this would have been a distant memory by this point. Jeff Novitsky's testimony continued on Wednesday.
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