Anderson ordered back to prison
Monday, August 28, 2006
(08-28) 17:22 PDT -- Greg Anderson, Barry Bonds' weight trainer, was held in contempt of court Monday and sent to federal prison for a second time for refusing to answer questions from a federal grand jury that is investigating Bonds for possible perjury.
In a testy one-hour hearing, U.S. District Judge William Alsup said Anderson had provided no legal justification for refusing to tell the grand jury on Aug. 17 whether he had supplied steroids to Bonds or other athletes, or even whether he knew the star Giants outfielder.
"Sometimes sitting in the cooler for a long time will have a therapeutic effect,'' Alsup told Anderson's lawyer, Mark Geragos.
"Maybe in 16 months he will change his mind. ...We will wait and see how loyal your client wants to be to someone other than his government, his country,'' the judge said, referring to the government's backing of the grand jury and its subpoena.
The grand jury is investigating whether Bonds or other athletes committed perjury when they testified before an earlier grand jury investigating distribution of steroids by the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative. Bonds, in testimony reported by The Chronicle, denied that he ever knowingly took performance-enhancing drugs.
Anderson, who is Bonds' longtime friend and gained entry to the Giants' clubhouse through Bonds, has said in a sworn declaration that he will never testify against others in the case.
Anderson spent 15 days in prison last month for refusing to answer similar questions but was freed when the grand jury's term expired. Federal prosecutors then convened a new grand jury for a term of up to 18 months, which would run through January 2008. Anderson could be jailed for the balance of that term, unless he agrees to testify.
Geragos said he would file an appeal Tuesday with the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. He argued that the questions Anderson refused to answer were based on an illegal tape recording and that prosecutors had implicitly promised Anderson, as part of an earlier guilty plea, that he would not have to testify.
Anderson spent three months in prison after pleading guilty in 2004 to dealing steroids and laundering money. Three other defendants, including BALCO founder Victor Conte, also pleaded guilty in 2004. A fifth man, the chemist who admitted designing several undetectable steroids, pleaded guilty this year.
At Monday's hearing, Alsup said one of the questions Anderson refused to answer was whether he knew Bonds or New York Yankees outfielder Gary Sheffield.
The Chronicle has reported that Sheffield told the BALCO grand jury that Bonds introduced him to Anderson after the 2001 season and the trainer gave him substances to ease his knee pain and keep him injury-free, including a cream and a liquid he saw Bonds using.
Prosecutors say all the substances were steroids, but Sheffield said Anderson never told him that.
Alsup said Anderson was also asked to identify players to whom he had distributed steroids, and whether he had ever injected Bonds with steroids or supplied him with substances known as the "cream'' and the "clear.''
"All these are reasonable questions in the grand jury's investigation,'' the judge said. He also said Anderson's plea agreement contained no promise that he would never have to testify.
Geragos said Anderson should have acknowledged knowing Bonds but had a legitimate reason for silence on the other questions: his belief that they were based on an illegal recording. The Chronicle has reported that Anderson said on the recording that he supplied undetectable steroids to Bonds.
Alsup rejected Geragos' claim that the recording was an illegal wiretap, saying the recording, obtained by prosecutors, had been made by a private citizen who was speaking with Anderson.
California law requires both parties in a telephone conversation to consent to any recording. Because of the possibility that the recording was illegal, Alsup ruled in June that Anderson did not have to answer questions that were derived from it and could return to court for rulings on disputed questions.
But the judge said Monday that the questions Anderson refused to answer involved information that was available from many sources other than the recording -- for example, "Game of Shadows,'' a book by Chronicle reporters Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams about the BALCO case.
"Any one of those questions could be based on reading that book,'' Alsup said.
Geragos protested that the book was not in evidence and he hadn't read it. He also said Anderson should have been given a court hearing Aug. 17 on each question he refused to answer, a position that Alsup called "ridiculous.''
Assistant U.S. Attorney Matt Parrella said prosecutors had "a mountain of evidence'' to support their questions to Anderson, including documents seized at his home.