Barry Bonds' Perjury Trial Begins After More Than 3 Years

Jan. 21: Barry Bonds walks out of a federal courthouse in San Francisco.

Jan. 21: Barry Bonds walks out of a federal courthouse in San Francisco.  (AP)

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Barry Bonds perjury trial has finally started, more than three years after the home run record-holder was indicted.

Wearing a dark suit and a silver tie, Bonds walked into the San Francisco federal courthouse Monday about an hour before jury selection began. He has pleaded not guilty to four charges that he lied to a grand jury when he denied knowingly taking performance-enhancing drugs and a fifth count of obstruction.

He was initially charged in November 2007.

The case is being heard before U.S. District Judge Susan Illston, and Bonds was at the defense table Monday with his star-studded legal team. The trial is scheduled to last between two to four weeks.

Prospective jurors filled out questionnaires last week and 39 have already been dismissed.

Bonds, who hit a record-breaking 762 home runs in a 21-year baseball career, was ordered to testify in December 2003 before a grand jury investigating a major sports doping ring centered at the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative in Burlingame, California.

Investigators found documents and other evidence connecting Bonds to the lab, known as BALCO, after raids there and at the home of Bonds' personal trainer Greg Anderson.

Nearly four years after Bonds told the jury that he never knowingly took steroids -- and no one other than his doctor ever injected him with any substances -- he was charged in November 2007 with perjury and obstruction of justice.

He was originally scheduled for trial in 2009. But the case was postponed after prosecutors appealed the judge's order barring the jury from seeing most of the evidence connected to Anderson, who has refused to testify. Prosecutors lost their appeal.

Anderson has been ordered to appear in court Tuesday morning and is expected to be jailed on a contempt of court charge until the end of trial.

Bonds won his seventh Most Valuable Player award in 2004 and broke Hank Aaron's Major League Baseball career home run record in 2007. Even though he wanted to continue playing, all 30 teams in the league shunned him after he was indicted.