We knew this would happen, but now we know what Illston is going to do about it:
Greg Anderson, Barry Bonds’ former personal trainer and the government’s most coveted witness in the perjury case against baseball’s home run king, still refuses to testify under oath.
As expected, Anderson, through his lawyer, today told U.S. District Judge Susan Illston he will not testify at Bonds’ trial, scheduled to begin next week. The judge told Anderson that he will have to appear in court Wednesday, the first day of scheduled testimony. If he does not testify, Illston said he would be found in civil contempt and sent to jail for the duration of the trial. The judge also warned Anderson that he could face further punishment if he is later charged with criminal contempt for refusing to testify.
And, notwithstanding her comments last week about it being “unprecedented” for someone to be jailed mutiple times for refusing to testify, jailing Anderson is certainly within her power. Indeed, I’d argue that she’s all but obligated to do it. After all, the stated purpose for this whole prosecution is to make the public point that a witness cannot lie to a grand jury. An equally important point, in my mind anyway, is that a potential witness cannot ignore a lawfully-served and enfocreable subpoena. True, Anderson has already served time and true, the feds have gone beyond decency in trying to compel his testimony, but those are separate tracks. When presented with a witness who will not testify like Anderson is not testifying, Illston has to use every tool at her disposal to make him change his mind lest the public get the impression that you can clam up and walk with zero consequences.
This is fun too:
Anderson’s move immediately triggered the possibility of a delay in the trial. Federal prosecutors told the judge that they will let her know by 3 p.m. if they will appeal her recent order excluding a host of key evidence from the trial, including what they say are three positive steroid tests by Bonds; Illston based that decision largely on the fact that the evidence is hearsay without Anderson’s supporting testimony.
If I were the judge, I would be profoundly pissed at the prosecution for waiting until just before close of business on the last day before trial to make this decision. If they do appeal the test result evidence, and if they lose that appeal as I think they should, they should probably just end the case, because in addition to having close to zero evidence, they’re going to have one profoundly angry judge.