Jury selection in the perjury trial of home-run champion Barry Bonds was completed in federal court in San Francisco this afternoon.
U.S. District Judge Susan Illston told the 12 jurors and two alternates, “Congratulations. You have been selected for this jury.”
She told them to return to her Federal Building courtroom at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday for the start of trial.
Illston told the jurors they must not discuss the case with anyone or communicate about it in any way, including over the Internet, for the duration of the trial.
“The only way we can provide a fair trial is if we all focus only on the evidence that comes into this court,” Illston told the jurors.
The trial is expected to last about four weeks.
Bonds, 46, is accused of lying when he told a federal grand jury in 2003 that he never knowingly received steroids, other performance-enhancing drugs or any injection from his trainer, Greg Anderson.
The former San Francisco Giants slugger faces a total of four counts of making false statements and one count of obstructing justice in his grand jury testimony. The panel was investigating the sale of performance-enhancing drugs by the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative, or BALCO.
Bonds set Major League Baseball’s records for single-season and career home runs while playing for the San Francisco Giants between 1993 and 2007.
The selection process began this morning with the dismissal of more than three-dozen prospective jurors on grounds of hardship or other reasons such as possible bias.
The judge, prosecutors and defense lawyers then questioned a panel of more than 30 remaining candidates. In the final stage of the process, the prosecution and defense were able to dismiss additional jurors with so-called peremptory challenges without giving a reason.
That part of the process was done silently, with the two sides taking turns handing back and forth a list showing which candidates each had excused. The defense was entitled to 11 challenges and the prosecution had seven.
During the questioning of prospective jurors, defense attorney Cris Arguedas briefly introduced Bonds and the defense team to the panel.
A trim-looking Bonds, wearing a black business suit, white shirt and silver tie, rose silently and made a slight bow to the jury.
The opening statements will begin at about 9 a.m. Tuesday after Illston gives the jury initial instructions. Each side is expected to take one hour for its opening.
At about 11 a.m., Bonds’ trainer, Greg Anderson, is due to appear in court outside the presence of the jury to be asked whether he will continue to refuse to testify at the trial. Prosecutors, who allege that Anderson gave Bonds steroids and other drugs, have asked Illston to jail him for the duration of the trial if he refuses to testify.
Julia Cheever, Bay City News
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