From: San Jose Mercury News
Barry Bonds’ attorney threatened Monday to expose government misconduct if prosecutors pursue perjury and tax-evasion charges against the Giants left fielder.
In a clear signal the battle in the investigation of drug use in sports is escalating, lawyer Michael Rains blamed the government for leaking transcripts of secret grand-jury testimony and other classified documents in the case.
“Everybody on the government side has already submitted a declaration under the penalty of perjury they aren’t the source of the leak,” Rains told the Mercury News. “So what does that make them, if we prove otherwise? It makes them perjurers.”
Under such circumstances, prosecutors could have a difficult time charging Bonds, Rains said. “I think they’re done.”
A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in San Francisco said in a statement: “The government understands and readily complies with its obligation to keep all sensitive material confidential.”
Rains sent a letter Monday asking U.S. District Judge Martin J. Jenkins to investigate the latest leak. The San Francisco Chronicle reported Saturday that prosecutors had subpoenaed Bonds’ medical records from the Giants.
Authorities from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles, who have conducted a separate investigation into the leak of secret grand-jury testimony in the case, contend that Balco Laboratories founder Victor Conte Jr. was the culprit. Conte has denied the claim.
Rains said Monday that Conte, who spent four months in prison for distributing steroids and laundering money, is not the source of the leak.
“If these folks in L.A. can’t get it straight enough to prove the person who is leaking this stuff gets a paycheck from the government, I’ll get it together for them,” he said.
“I know but I’m not telling you,” he said, showing off what could be Bonds’ best legal bargaining chip.
Rains said he wants to let investigators looking into the leaks complete their inquiry before taking action. A hearing to quash subpoenas for Chronicle reporters Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams, asking them to reveal who leaked the testimony, is scheduled for Aug. 4.
Thom Mrozek, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles, declined to respond to Rains’ comments.
Rains also offered a glimpse into his defense strategy, should Bonds face charges. Rains would attack the government’s documentation that Bonds used steroids and then intentionally lied about it when he testified in 2003.
Investigators confiscated calendars and ledgers allegedly showing drug schedules and payments for Bonds and other baseball players from the home of trainer Greg Anderson.
“In a case like Barry’s case, you are never going to get answers by looking at what the documents say,” Rains said. “You got to look at what the documents don’t say.”
Prosecutors, in fact, have been trying to question Anderson about those documents, but he has refused to testify in front of the federal grand jury investigating Bonds. He has been subpoenaed to testify again this week to a new grand jury.
Bonds is being investigated for lying under oath when he testified that he believed the substances he took were flaxseed oil and an arthritis balm. Prosecutors believe those substances were “the clear” and “the cream,” performance-enhancing drugs distributed by Balco.
Bonds could also face charges for failing to report tens of thousands of dollars in income from the sale of memorabilia.