Barry Bonds could be facing bigger problems than baseball’s probe into his alleged past steroid use.
A federal grand jury is investigating whether Bonds committed perjury when he testified in 2003 that he never used steroids, a person with knowledge of the probe told The Associated Press on Thursday night.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity because of the secrecy of the investigation.
The panel has been hearing evidence for more than a month about whether Bonds lied to a different grand jury than the one investigating the BALCO scandal. The existence of the grand jury was first reported by CNN on Thursday, with the San Francisco Chronicle also weighing in.
Luke Macaulay, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in San Francisco, told the AP that he could neither confirm nor deny the reports.
Bonds was granted immunity when he testified before the BALCO grand jury in December 2003, as long as he told the truth. According to excerpts of the testimony previously reported by the San Francisco Chronicle, Bonds testified that he used a clear substance and a cream given to him by a trainer who later pleaded guilty in a steroid-distribution ring, but said he didn’t know they were steroids.
Bonds told the grand jury that Greg Anderson, his personal trainer, told him the substances he used were the nutritional supplement flaxseed oil and a rubbing balm for arthritis.
The substances Bonds described were similar to ones known as “the clear” and “the cream,” two steroids at the center of the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative scandal. Investigators seized calendars that recorded schedules for Bonds’ use of those drugs, as well as human growth hormone, clomid, insulin and other steroids, according to the Chronicle.
Bonds, who has always denied using steroids, left the San Francisco Giants ballpark Thursday night without answering questions about the report from reporters. When asked what he would tell his fans, Bonds responded, “Tell them I love them.”
Following last month’s release of the book “Game of Shadows,” which details steroid use by Bonds and other players, baseball commissioner Bud Selig launched an investigation of steroids in baseball.
Harry Stern, an attorney in the firm representing Bonds, told the AP that Bonds told the truth when he testified to the grand jury and said his firm had no knowledge of the new grand jury investigation.
Baseball spokesman Rich Levin said he is aware of the reports, “but it’s just not appropriate for us to comment at this time.”
Dr. Arthur Ting, Bonds’ personal surgeon, has been subpoenaed to testify before the grand jury investigating possible perjury charges, the source told the AP. Ting, who treated Bonds for a knee injury that kept him out for most of the 2005 season, will be called to appear before the panel meeting at U.S. District Court in San Francisco, the source said.