12/04/2004 2:27 AM ET
Bonds' lawyer blasts report
Report: Slugger told jury he unknowingly used steroids
By Rich Draper / MLB.com
|Barry Bonds' lawyer, Michael Rains, makes a statement to reporters in Oakland on Friday. (Jeff Chiu/AP)
SAN FRANCISCO -- A report that Barry Bonds used illegal steroids in 2003 -- unwittingly, as the slugger attempted to explain in leaked grand jury testimony -- drew an emphatic reaction from attorney Michael Rains, who made it clear he believes his client has done nothing wrong and that the same cannot be said for prosecutors in the case.
When asked about excerpts from transcripts that appeared in Friday's San Francisco Chronicle, Rains said:
"My view has always been this case has been the U.S. vs. Bonds, and I think the government has moved in certain ways in a concerted effort to indict my client. And I think their failure to indict him has resulted in their attempts to smear him publicly."
In a case filed against the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative, a case in which none of the high-profile athletes in question has been charged, federal prosecutors have tried to show that Bonds, Yankees star Jason Giambi and other sports figures were given illegal, undetectable performance-enhancing substances by BALCO.
Citing transcripts of testimony from a federal grand jury investigation, the newspaper reported that Giambi testified he obtained steroids from Bonds' personal trainer and BALCO representative Greg Anderson.
Bonds reportedly told the grand jury he used a clear substance and cream supplied by Anderson during the 2003 season, but said Anderson told him the substances were nutritional supplement flaxseed oil and a rubbing balm for arthritis.
Prosecutors claim BALCO distributed steroids to athletes in the form of a clear substance taken orally and a cream rubbed onto the body.
Bonds' story was backed by Rains during a Friday news conference in Oakland.
"Greg knew what Barry's demands were. Nothing illegal," Rains said. "This is Barry's best friend in the world. Barry trusted him. He trusts him today. He trusts that he never got anything illegal from Greg Anderson."
Further, the attorney stated that even if the substances Bonds took were considered steroids, they weren't on baseball's banned list.
Anderson was indicted on charges of money laundering and conspiracy to distribute steroids in February. His attorney told the Chronicle he never knowingly broke the law.
In response to the continuing disclosures regarding the use of illegal performance-enhancing substances, Commissioner Bud Selig issued the following statement on Friday:
"As I have repeatedly stated, I am fully committed to the goal of immediately ridding our great game of illegal performance-enhancing substances. The use of these substances continues to raise issues regarding the game's integrity and raises serious concerns about the health and well-being of our players.
"I am aware the Major League Baseball Players Association is having its annual meeting with its Executive Board of player representatives next week. I urge the players and their association to emerge from this meeting ready to join me in adopting a new, stronger drug testing policy modeled after our minor league program that will once and for all rid the game of the scourge of illegal drugs."
Giants spokesman Blake Rhodes declined comment on the subject Friday, saying all teams have been directed not to talk about the issue.
According to the Chronicle, prosecutors confronted Bonds during his grand jury testimony with documents and billing information that allegedly detailed the use of steroids, human growth hormone and other performance-enhancing substances between 2001 and 2003.
Bonds told his questioners that he had never seen the documents and had never paid Anderson for steroids. Bonds also said Anderson "wouldn't jeopardize our friendship" by giving him banned substances.
"Greg and I are friends," Bonds reportedly testified. "I never paid Greg for anything. ... You're going to bring up documents and more documents. I have never seen anything written by Greg Anderson on a piece of paper."
The Associated Press reported that Bonds denied buying steroids, but did pay his trainer $15,000 in cash in 2003 for weight training and a $20,000 bonus after his earlier 73-homer season.
Bonds' agent, Jeff Borris, told the Associated Press, "Barry was tested several times this year, and the results of those tests were negative. He put together statistically one of the most remarkable seasons ever.
"There are people in this world whose sole purpose is to try and figure out ways on how to undermine the accomplishments of others."
If he was doing something wrong, Bonds apparently made no attempt to hide it.
Bonds told prosecutors that Anderson brought the disputed substances into the Giants' clubhouse at the San Francisco ballpark "once a homestand," according to the Chronicle.
"I never asked Greg [about what the products contained]," Bonds reportedly said. "When he said it was flaxseed oil, I just said, 'Whatever.'
"It was in the ballpark ... in front of everybody. I mean, all the reporters, my teammates. I mean, they all saw it. I didn't hide it."
While Bonds garnered the lion's share of the headlines Friday, other players were named in the reports:
Jason Giambi and his brother Jeremy reportedly acknowledged they had injected themselves with performance-enhancing drugs supplied by Anderson.
Bonds' longtime friend, Yankees outfielder Gary Sheffield, reportedly testified that Bonds arranged for him to receive "the cream" and "the clear" and "red beans" -- which prosecutors identified as steroid pills manufactured in Mexico -- while working out in the Bay Area prior to the 2002 season. Sheffield said he was not told the substances were steroids, nor did he say Bonds appeared to have that impression.
Former Giants Benito Santiago, Bobby Estalella and Armando Rios revealed they had used performance-enhancing substances, according to the Chronicle.
Before testifying, players reportedly were told they would not be prosecuted for any crimes they admitted under oath if they answered questions truthfully, but could be subject to prosecution for perjury if they lied.
Attorneys for Sheffield and Santiago were dismayed the grand jury secret testimony had been leaked, according to the Chronicle.
Rich Draper is a reporter for MLB.com. The Associated Press contributed to this report. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.