Barry Bonds finally sat across the courtroom Monday in San Francisco from the 12 people who will judge whether or not the greatest home-run hitter of all time lied about taking drugs.
Following a daylong selection process, eight women and four men were picked to hear the federal government’s case against the 46-year-old former San Francisco Giants star, who is charged with four counts of lying to a grand jury and one count of obstruction for testifying in 2003 that he never knowingly used performance-enhancing drugs.
Among the jurors there was no shortage of opinion on baseball’s steroids era or drugs in sports, though all indicated they could rule impartially in the case of Bonds, who holds the records for home runs in a career (762) and a season (73).
Juror No. 69 was angered Congress investigated steroids in sports “on my dime.”
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“They should be solving things like the national debt,” he said.
Jurors were identified by number rather than name, and U.S. District Judge Susan Illston said their identities won’t be revealed until the day after the verdict.
“We got a fair and impartial jury selected after an open process,” said Bonds’ lead lawyer, Allen Ruby.
From the initial pool of potential jurors who filled out a 19-page questionnaire last week, Illston dismissed 38 based on answers which included whether they had attended Giants games in the last five years, and whether they were familiar with the Mitchell Report on drugs in baseball or congressional hearings into steroids use.
St. Louis manager Tony La Russa and Washington counterpart Jim Riggleman had to be separated when both benches cleared during a testy spring training game between the Nationals and Cardinals in Jupiter, Fla. The scuffle broke out after three batters were hit by pitches, but no punches were thrown. St. Louis reliever and former Seattle Mariners reliever Miguel Batista was the only player ejected. … Roy Halladay (3-0) looked ready for opening day and beyond, pitching into the eighth inning to lead Philadelphia past Boston, 4-1, in Clearwater, Fla. The reigning National League Cy Young Award winner held the Red Sox to one run and five hits, striking out six and walking three.