SAN FRANCISCO – Barry Bonds told a judge Friday that he wants two top-notch Bay Area defense lawyers to head his legal team even though they previously represented potential witnesses against the slugger.
Bonds, who is charged with perjury and obstruction of justice for allegedly lying to a federal grand jury about his steroid use, appeared briefly in U.S. District Court after prosecutors raised conflict-of-interest concerns about defense attorneys Allan Ruby and Cris Arguedas.
Speaking softly in response to a series of questions by U.S. District Judge Susan Illston, baseball's reigning home run leader said he wanted the two lawyers to represent him, even though lead attorney Ruby had earlier represented Bonds' personal surgeon Dr. Arthur Ting, and Arguedas represented former track star Tim Montgomery.
Illston did not immediately rule on whether to disqualify Ruby and Arguedas and asked Bonds to file a written declaration by Jan. 4.
Bonds declined to comment as he left court.
Prosecutors said they will probably call Ting as a witness at trial and that they're concerned Ruby won't conduct a rigorous cross-examination of the doctor.
Ting accompanied Bonds to the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative to draw the slugger's blood, which was privately tested for steroids. According the indictment charging Bonds with perjury and obstruction, two of those tests came back positive.
Arguedas represented disgraced track star Montgomery and three former professional football players who testified about their steroid use to a grand jury investigating a steroids ring based at BALCO.
By waiving conflict-of-interest issues, Bonds is precluded from appealing any conviction because of the lawyer's previous representation.