Former players will be allowed to testify in the upcoming Barry Bonds perjury trial, a federal judge ruled in San Francisco court Monday, according to The Associated Press.
Bonds' trial on charges that he lied to a grand jury in 2003, when he said he never knowingly took performance-enhancing drugs, is scheduled to begin later this month; the slugger has pleaded not guilty. When called to the stand to be questioned about their own relationships with former trainer Greg Anderson, the former players are expected to testify that Anderson provided them with PEDs and instructions on how to use them.
Bonds' lawyers, the AP reported, had argued against having former players testify for fear of guilt by association, since Anderson has stated he will remain mum throughout the trial and would be unable to corroborate the players' accounts. But U.S. District Judge Susan Illston will allow them to tell their side.
Last week, Bonds pleaded not guilty to lying under oath for the fourth time, and Illston warned Anderson that he'll face additional jail time if he stays quiet when he appears in court at the start of the trial on March 21.
Illston also ruled that testimony on potential side effects that may have been caused by Bonds' alleged steroid use can come into play. A taped recording of a conversation between Anderson, Bonds and former business partner Steve Hoskins has also been allowed.
The trial is expected to last 2-4 weeks. Reports have stated that Bonds faces up to 21 months in jail if found guilty.
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his columns and his blog, listen to his podcast and follow him on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.