The case of former San Francisco Giants slugger Barry Bonds is due to resurface before a federal appeals court in the city on Thursday.
A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will hear federal prosecutors’ appeal of a lower court ruling barring the use of key evidence in Bonds’ perjury trial.
Bonds, 45, is accused of lying about his steroid use in 2003 testimony before a grand jury investigating the sale of performance-enhancing drugs by the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative, or BALCO.
The evidence prosecutors are seeking to present to a jury consists of three allegedly positive steroids tests and alleged doping calendars.
The trial judge, U.S. District Judge Susan Illston of San Francisco, has ruled that prosecutors can’t use the materials unless Bonds’ trainer, Greg Anderson, testifies to link them to Bonds.
Anderson has told the judge he will refuse to testify, even if she jails him for contempt of court.
Bonds’ trial, which was scheduled to begin last March 2, was abruptly halted three days before its opening when prosecutors decided to appeal Illston’s ruling.
The prosecutors from the U.S. attorney’s office in San Francisco have argued in briefs that Illston “misapplied the federal rules of evidence, made erroneous findings of fact and imposed an unjustifiably high standard for admissibility” of evidence.
Bonds’ defense attorneys have contended Illston’s ruling was correct and that the government attorneys’ last-minute pretrial appeal was “an effort to salvage Bonds’s highly publicized prosecution.”
A panel made up of Circuit Judges Mary Schroeder, Stephen Reinhardt and Carlos Bea will hear just 30 minutes of arguments – 15 minutes per side – at the appeals court courthouse at Seventh and Mission streets at 9 a.m.
The court is then expected to take the case under submission and issue a written ruling at a later date.
Bonds, now a free agent, set the Major League Baseball career home-run record while playing for the San Francisco Giants in 2007.
He is charged with 10 counts of making false statements and one count of obstructing justice in grand jury testimony on Dec. 4, 2003.
Among other statements, he is accused of lying when he said he never knowingly took steroids, never received testosterone or human growth hormone from Anderson and never was injected by Anderson.