SAN FRANCISCO – The home run king wasn`t home free after all.
Barry Bonds was indicted for perjury and obstruction of justice Thursday and could go to prison instead of the Hall of Fame for telling a federal grand jury he did not knowingly use performance-enhancing drugs.
The indictment came just three months after the San Francisco Giants star broke Hank Aaron`s career home run record, and it culminated a four-year investigation into steroid use by elite athletes.
But for all the speculation and accusations that clouded his pursuit of Aaron, Bonds was never identified by Major League Baseball as testing positive for steroids, and personal trainer Greg Anderson spent most of the last year in jail for refusing to testify against his longtime friend.
Then came the indictment – four counts of perjury, one of obstruction of justice; a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison – and Bonds` lawyers seemed caught off guard.
The 10-page report mainly consists of excerpts from Bonds` December 2003 testimony before a grand jury investigating the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative, or BALCO. It cites 19 occasions in which Bonds allegedly lied under oath.
“I`m surprised,” said one of his lawyers, John Burris, “but there`s been an effort to get Barry for a long time. I`m curious what evidence they have now they didn`t have before.”
Burris said he didn`t know of the indictment before being alerted by The Associated Press. He said he would call Bonds to notify him.
Anderson was released from prison after the indictment was handed up and refused comment as he walked out.
His attorney, Mark Geragos, said the trainer didn`t cooperate with the grand jury.
“This indictment came out of left field,” Geragos said. “Frankly, I`m aghast. It looks like the government misled me and Greg as well, saying this case couldn`t go forward without him.”
Bonds is scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court in San Francisco on Dec. 7.