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Bonds waives lawyers' conflict issue

December 22, 2007|Tim Reiterman | Times Staff Writer

SAN FRANCISCO -- Barry Bonds said Friday that he wants to stick with two of his high-powered defense lawyers although prosecutors contended they have potential conflicts of interest because they previously represented figures in the sweeping federal steroids investigation.

Bonds, baseball's all-time home run leader, who has pleaded not guilty to perjury and obstruction of justice charges, made his second brief appearance in federal court since he was indicted in November for allegedly lying to a grand jury when he denied knowingly using performance-enhancing drugs.

The hearing was called after government attorneys filed a brief this week saying Bonds attorneys Allen Ruby and Cristina Arguedas have potential conflicts that could affect their ability to represent the slugger. Ruby previously represented Bonds' surgeon, Dr. Arthur Ting, and Arguedas represented former sprinter Tim Montgomery, who admitted he received steroids.

Noting that they probably will call Ting as a witness and cannot rule out Montgomery, prosecutors said they wanted Bonds to waive his right to conflict-free trial, eliminating a possible basis for appeal if he is convicted.

Responding to questions from U.S. District Judge Susan Illston, Bonds said he was informed of his lawyers' previous clients and he understood that the lawyers had a "duty of loyalty" to them.

"If [prior clients are] called as witnesses, the lawyer might not able to cross-examine them," the judge said. "You understand that?"

"Yes, I do," Bonds said.

Although Bonds said he was willing to waive the conflict issue, the judge did not render a formal ruling. She asked Bonds to file a written declaration by Jan. 4. At the request of the defense, she also moved the next court session to Feb. 8, although Bonds is not required to attend.

Bonds has half a dozen lawyers on his defense team, but Ruby and Arguedas have taken leading roles in the courtroom.

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tim.reiterman@latimes.com

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