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Perjury Case a Possibility for Bonds

Second grand jury is reportedly considering evidence that he lied in original testimony about steroid use.

April 14, 2006|Tim Brown | Times Staff Writer

Already hounded by a Major League Baseball investigation and an increasingly suspicious public, Barry Bonds could again be in trouble with the federal government.

More than two years after Bonds told a federal grand jury he did not knowingly take steroids, a second San Francisco grand jury has considered evidence for a month that he lied in his original testimony, according to reports by CNN and the San Francisco Chronicle on Thursday.

Depending on the findings of the grand jury, federal prosecutors could choose to initiate a perjury case against Bonds, who was implicated during the investigation of the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative that resulted in jail time for the company's founder and Bonds' personal trainer.

Bonds was granted immunity in exchange for truthful testimony in a December 2003 hearing.

Bonds' physician, Dr. Arthur Ting, has been subpoenaed to testify at the U.S. District Courthouse as part of the perjury inquiry, according to the Chronicle.

Michael Raines, Bonds' attorney, has not returned messages left at his office regarding both baseball's investigation and the second grand jury.

An MLB official said Commissioner Bud Selig was unaware of the second grand jury. Bonds could be suspended if he is found guilty of perjury. He might also be facing an IRS investigation. Bonds' former mistress reportedly testified he gave her $80,000, earned through sales of signed memorabilia unreported to the IRS.

Taunted in San Diego and applauded in San Francisco, Bonds arrives tonight for the first of three games at Dodger Stadium, where MLB and the Dodgers have collaborated to tighten security around the controversial slugger.

As part of an ongoing plan to protect Bonds, his teammates and fans, particularly when the Giants play on the road, MLB security chief Kevin Hallinan will be in Los Angeles this weekend. The Dodgers are expecting large crowds for all three games, and are close to a sellout Saturday night. While there will be a greater security presence, neither Hallinan nor the Dodgers would reveal the precise numbers.

Hallinan said he has been in frequent contact with Dodger security director Shahram Ariane and the resident MLB security agent assigned to the team, Lee Jett. He had similar pre-series planning discussions with officials before opening day in San Diego, where fans heckled Bonds with obscenities, and one tossed a novelty-store plastic syringe onto the field at Petco Park.

"It's not something we haven't done in the past for other players," Hallinan said. "We work with the player and let him know we'll assist wherever we can, for both him and his family.

"We get the whole team involved and make sure we are comprehensive in our approach, including areas of concern in the ballpark. We don't leave anything to chance."

Bonds, a key figure in baseball's steroid scandal, has 708 career home runs, six short of Babe Ruth and 47 short of Hank Aaron's record. Though he has denied using steroids, two recent books have asserted otherwise. Public and media criticism has been severe, and Bonds' presence in left field figures be a sideshow in the long-standing rivalry between the Dodgers and Giants.

After several instances of fan misconduct early last season, most of it in the left- and right-field bleachers, the Dodgers hired uniformed Los Angeles Police Department officers to patrol the stands. They also discontinued their "$2 Tuesdays" promotion.

"The Dodgers have very strict guidelines regarding appropriate fan behavior in order to provide a safe and enjoyable experience for our fans and for the players on the field," Dodger spokeswoman Camille Johnston said. "We are prepared to -- and do -- eject fans who violate these guidelines."

Bonds started or appeared in six of the Giants' first seven games but has not homered and is batting .188 in 16 at-bats. He reportedly "tweaked" his balky right knee Sunday against Atlanta. The Giants and Houston Astros were rained out Tuesday and Wednesday night, and Bonds started the first game of Thursday's doubleheader in left field.

Bonds has been held out of games in which a wet field would place his knee at risk. Rain is expected in Los Angeles today, followed by clearing through the weekend.

Selig, who two weeks ago ordered the investigation into steroids in the game, has not committed to recognizing Bonds' feat, should Bonds pass Ruth and, eventually, Aaron. MLB.com is running a Bonds home run counter and a feature titled, "To the Babe and Beyond," however.

Asked Thursday whether he could recall a situation similar to Bonds', in which a single player drew such security concerns, Hallinan paused and said, "Well, there was John Rocker."

Rocker was the Brave reliever who before the 2000 season made disparaging observations about the people one might meet on the No. 7 train, from Manhattan's Grand Central Station to Shea Stadium. When the Braves played the Mets for the first time that season, 700 police officers -- about 640 more than usual -- were in the stadium.

"You try to downplay it as much as you can and not overreact, to quietly and unobtrusively address the issue," Hallinan said. "We'll be at the front gates, making sure no one is bringing things in they shouldn't bring in. We'll have a greater concentration of people in certain areas and moving people around."

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The series

The Dodgers play host to NL West rival San Francisco tonight at Dodger Stadium, the first of a three-game series. A look at the probable pitchers:

Tonight, 7:30, Channel 9

B. Penny (2-0, 1.50) vs. J. Wright (1-0, 5.14)

Saturday, 7, FSN Prime Ticket

O. Perez (1-0, 8.64) vs. J. Schmidt (0-1, 5.79)

Sunday, 5, ESPN

J. Seo (0-0, 9.00) vs. K. Correia (0-0, 9.00)

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