Barry Bonds pleaded not guilty Friday in San Francisco to perjury and obstruction of justice charges. He's accused of lying to a federal grand jury about knowingly using performance-enhancing drugs. He left the court surrounded by lawyers to the cheers of fans chanting his name. Then his lead attorney, Alan Ruby, spoke to reporters.
"Barry Bonds is innocent," he said. "He has trust and faith in the justice system. He'll defend these charges, and we're confident of a good outcome."
Ruby, who led a pack of six of Bonds' lawyers into the courtroom, hinted at an initial defense strategy.
"As we told the judge in court, there may be defects on the face of the indictment — meaning, if you just read it, you can see the defects, and if we conclude that that's the case, there'll be a motion to dismiss the indictment. But we're not quite there yet."
Ruby wouldn't say what the defects are, but later Friday on ESPN, legal analyst Roger Cossack described how the indictment includes transcripts of the questions and answers during Bonds' grand jury testimony.
Cossack said some of the prosecutor's questions were "inartful" and in some ways, open-ended – yielding answers from Bonds that might not make him guilty of perjury.
"Perjury's a very specific charge, and they have to prove — the prosecution — beyond a reasonable doubt that he specifically lied about a material fact, and if they can't do that ... then they lose," Cossack said.
Bonds is the career home run leader and the most prominent baseball player linked to performance-enhancing drugs. The results of an investigation into doping in baseball by former Sen. George Mitchell (D-ME) will be released sometime this month.