Friday, August 18, 2006
The grand jury investigations involving Balco (Bay Area Laboratory Co-operative) and possible perjury by Barry Bonds may end up sending witnesses to jail for civil contempt for their refusal to testify in response to subpoenas. Bonds' former personal trainer, Greg Anderson, went to jail in July for refusing to testify, and was released when the grand jury's term expired. With a new panel in place for at least 18 months, he now runs the risk of spending a lot of time in jail. In an appearance before the grand jury, Anderson apparently responded to a few questions, but refused to answer a key one: "Did you distribute anabolic steroids to Barry Bonds?" The San Francisco Giants slugger denied knowingly using them in grand jury testimony in 2003. Prosecutors have asked that Anderson be held in contempt again, and a hearing is scheduled for August 28 to decide whether he should be held on contempt for refusing to answer. If he is ordered to respond to the question and refuses again, he may sit in jail for up to the 17 months remaining in the grand jury's term, assuming it's not extend by six months. An AP story (here) discusses the latest twist in the Bonds perjury investigation.
How do we know what Bonds said before the grand jury? That brings us to two more potential witnesses who have asserted they will not testify about who leaked Bonds' testimony to them despite being ordered by a federal judge, who refused to quash subpoenas to San Francisco Chronicle reporters Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams. Prosecutors are investigating the leak of grand jury material that is supposed to remain confidential. The reporters, whose First Amendment privilege claim has been rejected by courts in a variety of situations, have stated that they will not disclose the confidential source of the grand jury testimony. As discussed in an earlier post (here), the person who leaked the testimony of Bonds and other major league baseball players could face a criminal contempt and other charges for disclosing the transcripts. Within a few weeks, there could be three people in jail for refusing to testify before the grand jury, and no one has even been indicted yet. (ph)