A federal judge has barred prosecutors from using three positive steroid tests and other key evidence in Barry Bonds’ trial next month because of his personal trainer’s refusal to testify. The ruling issued late Thursday was expected. The judge had said earlier she was troubled by the admissibility of the test results because prosecutors couldn’t conclusively tie them to Bonds. Prosecutors allege that Bonds’ trainer, Greg Anderson, collected the urine samples and delivered them for testing to the Bay Area Co-Operative Laboratory in 2000 and 2001. But Anderson has refused to testify. The judge said without his testimony, prosecutors cannot link the tests to Bonds. Federal agents seized the samples when they raided BALCO in 2003.
I’ve always been less impressed with the positive tests in this particular case because if you’ve read Bonds’ grand jury testimony it’s clear that everything turns on whether he knew what he was taking or not. Indeed, no one — short of people wishing to create a straw man out of Bonds — is claiming that Bonds didn’t take steroids, because it’s quite obvious that he did. As such, the existence and admittance of a positive test, while interesting and no doubt damaging to Bonds’ case, would not have been dispositive.
This case effectively died the day it became clear that Greg Anderson wasn’t going to testify. Indeed, if the government is really interested in sticking it to Bonds, they would probably have a better shot at easing off and biding their time in the off chance that Greg Anderson buys a hundred thousand dollar sports car in Newport Beach with Barry Bonds’ American Express card or something.