SAN FRANCISCO – Barry Bonds' personal trainer was held in contempt of court and taken to prison Wednesday for refusing to testify to the federal grand jury investigating the San Francisco Giants' slugger for perjury.
Greg Anderson, who served three months in prison after pleading guilty last year for his role in the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative steroid scandal, was led out of U.S. District Judge William Alsup's courtroom by two deputy U.S. marshals. He will be housed at the Federal Correctional Institution in nearby Dublin, but his stay may be short.
That's because Anderson will be set free once the grand jury's term expires, which will occur within weeks, Alsup said.
Anderson was initially ordered in March to testify to the grand jury investigating whether Bonds perjured himself when he testified to the original BALCO grand jury in December 2003 that he never knowingly used steroids or other banned performance enhancing drugs.
"Every person, even the President of the United States as held by the Supreme Court, has to give testimony," Alsup said in ordering Anderson to prison.
Alsup denied Anderson's request for bail or to remain free while his attorney, Mark Geragos, appeals the decision.
"You have done a masterful job of postponing this day of reckoning," the judge told Geragos, "and if you wait a few more weeks, the grand jury will go away."
Geragos said Anderson won't testify and will be released once the grand jury's term expires.
While Geragos, the federal prosecutor and the judge all hearing the case said the grand jury's term will expire soon, all declined to comment exactly when that will be.
Geragos said outside of court that "there are things in your refrigerator" with a longer shelf life than the grand jury's term.
The Giants said Bonds would have no comment on the development. Bonds' attorney, Michael Rains, did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment.
Geragos argued that Anderson shouldn't have to testify because of the numerous leaks about grand jury testimony in the original BALCO case have made their way into print and a book by two San Francisco Chronicle reporters.
"Jail is not going to have any coercive effect," Geragos said outside federal court. "He is not going to cooperate with a grand jury that is leaking like a sieve."
He also said that Anderson's agreement with the government that led to his guilty plea included language that stated he didn't have to cooperate with the investigation.
He further argued that the entire perjury investigation has been tainted by a tape recording made of Anderson by an associate was illegally obtained. The San Francisco Chronicle has reported that Anderson said on the recording that he provided Bonds with "undetectable" drugs to help him beat baseball's drug testing program in 2003. A federal prosecutor revealed last month that his office had obtained a copy of the recording last summer.
Federal prosecutor Matthew Parella argued in court Wednesday that the grand jury needs Anderson's assistance in, among other things, interpreting calendars that appear to have athletes names and dosing schedule of illegal performance-enhancing drugs.
"All things that need to be explained by the person who created these markings," Parella said of the calendar investigators seized from Anderson's house in 2003.
Parella also told the judge that government doesn't believe the tape made by Anderson's associate was illegally obtained, but promised not to use evidence gleaned from it in questioning Anderson.
Parella declined to comment outside court.
"Given Mr. Anderson's refusal to testify despite the court's order to do so, we believe the court imposed the appropriate sanction," U.S. attorney spokesman Luke Macaulay said in an e-mail statement.
Anderson's attorney said his client's refusal to cooperate is not meant to protect Bonds, a childhood friend.
"If it was about protecting Barry, he wouldn't have entered into a plea," Geragos said. "This is nothing more than piling on."