(AP) – Barry Bonds’s legal team is preparing for the San Francisco slugger to be indicted as soon as next week and has begun plotting his defense.
Attorney Laura Enos told The Associated Press on Friday that Bonds, second on the career home run list, could be charged with tax evasion and perjury.
Enos, Bonds’s personal attorney, also said the lawyers believe the grand jury investigating the star player will expire next Thursday.
“We are very prepared,” Enos said. “We have excellent tax records and we are very comfortable that he has not shortchanged the government at all.”
Also Friday, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals refused to free Bonds’ personal trainer, Greg Anderson, from prison. A federal judge on July 5 ordered Anderson jailed until he agreed to testify before the grand jury investigating Bonds.
Anderson was one of five people convicted in the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative scandal. The Burlingame-based nutritional supplement company was exposed as a steroid laboratory for top athletes.
The grand jury is probing Bonds for allegedly lying to a different grand jury that led to Anderson’s conviction.
Bonds testified in 2003 that he never knowingly used performance-enhancing drugs and said Anderson had given him flaxseed oil and arthritis balm, not steroids.
The BALCO probe netted calendars and other documents connecting Bonds to the lab.
Former girlfriend Kimberly Bell is a key witness in the case and has testified that Bonds told her of his steroid use and flew into rages she attributed to steroid use, according to grand jury testimony obtained by the San Francisco Chronicle.
Enos said Bonds denies those allegations and will argue that Bell’s testimony amounts to “pillow talk.”
“It’s a ‘he said, she said’ thing,” Enos said.
The grand jury also is believed to be investigating Bonds for tax evasion in connection with cash he allegedly gave Bell to buy a house. The money came from sales of Bonds’s signatures on baseball memorabilia, and the income allegedly was not reported to the IRS.
Enos said that claim – based upon the ex-girlfriend’s testimony and the allegations of childhood friend and former business partner Steve Hoskins – is untrue. Enos said Hoskins gave Bell the cash to curry favor with Bonds and to thank the slugger for helping him become rich by putting him in charge of a lucrative memorabilia business.
Enos said Hoskins also bought Bonds a $350,000 Bentley Rolls Royce, which she said Bonds paid $150,000 in gift taxes.
“The guy without Barry didn’t have a penny,” Enos said.
Hoskins recently has surfaced as another key government witness in the investigation of Bonds. He was a boyhood friend who went into business with the baseball star, selling such memorabilia as signed jerseys, bats and baseball cards. The two had a falling out in 2003, which Enos said was over Bonds’s accusations that Hoskins forged the slugger’s signature on at least two endorsement contracts and sold Bonds’s gear without his permission.
Hoskins’ lawyer, Michael Cardoza, said he was “laughing” at Bonds’s defense.
“I’m laughing because I love this defense. Tell them to think of a better story,” he said. “Tell them to put that defense on and to keep believing their client. They’re going to get it shoved down their throats.”
Bonds hit 12 home runs in the first half of this season to give him 720 for his career, 35 from tying Hank Aaron’s record of 755. Bonds passed Babe Ruth and moved into second place on the career list with No. 715 on May 28.
He’s batting .249 this season with 38 RBIs, and has missed 20 games because of knee problems.
If charged with perjury and convicted, he could face up to five years in prison. He could face another five years if charged and convicted of money laundering.