The perjury case against former San Francisco Giants superstar Barry Bonds is back on track.
Federal prosecutors Tuesday filed a fresh indictment against Bonds to address a federal judge's concern that the previous charges were legally flawed. There are no new allegations, but Major League Baseball's all-time home run leader has now been hit with 15 felony charges, 10 more than in the original indictment returned in November by a federal grand jury in San Francisco. Bonds is expected to be arraigned on the new indictment June 6.
The legal implications for Bonds remain the same under the new indictment. He is accused of lying to a federal grand jury in December 2003 about using steroids as he chased his sport's home run records. Bonds was among dozens of athletes called to testify in the BALCO steroids probe, which linked a Peninsula laboratory to widespread doping in sports.
The revised indictment, however, pushes the case forward after months of delay. Meanwhile, Bonds' high-powered defense team is expected to press more challenges to the prosecution's case, making it unlikely there will be a trial before the end of this year. Bonds previously pleaded not guilty to the perjury charges.
Allen Ruby, Bonds' attorney, said of the new indictment: "Barry Bonds is innocent."
U.S. District Judge Susan Illston in March dismissed the original indictment, after agreeing with Bonds' lawyers who argued that it was drafted improperly and too vague.
Federal prosecutors have responded by filing a separate charge for each instance Bonds is accused of lying about using steroids.
The indictment now charges Bonds with 14 separate false statements to the BALCO grand jury, all centered on his steroid use and relationship with his former personal trainer, Greg Anderson. He also faces one count of obstructing justice through his allegedly false grand jury testimony.
The new 14-page indictment cites a series of exchanges in which the government says Bonds lied about using steroids or human growth hormone, as well as whether Anderson supplied him with steroids.
Anderson, who previously pleaded guilty in the BALCO case, has refused to testify against Bonds and served a year in federal prison for contempt.
The indictment includes the government's allegation that Bonds tested positive for steroids in November 2000, and lied about it when questioned by prosecutors.
"So, I'm going to ask you in the weeks and months leading up to November 2000, were you taking steroids?" asked a federal prosecutor.
"No, I wasn't at all," Bonds replied.
The 43-year-old Bonds has remained on the sidelines as a free agent outfielder, unable to secure a contract with another major league team. Bonds has insisted he wants to play again this season.