Unsealing Barry Bonds' Grand Jury Testimony

A federal judge has ordered prosecutors to rewrite a federal indictment of Barry Bonds on perjury charges. The judge also told them to unseal the baseball star's 2003 grand jury testimony. Scott Simon speaks with ESPN.com's Howard Bryant about the latest twist in the Bonds case.

Copyright © 2008 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

SCOTT SIMON, host:

From new hips to new revelations. There aren't any do-overs in baseball, but federal court has different rules. Yesterday, a federal judge ordered the U.S. attorney's office to re-write its indictment of Barry Bonds on perjury charges.

The judge also told prosecutors to unseal the baseball star's 2003 grand jury testimony.

NPR's - our Howard Bryant - ESPN's Howard Bryant (unintelligible) joins us. Howard, thanks for being with us.

Mr. HOWARD BRYANT (Journalist, Espn.com): Hey Scott, how are you?

SIMON: I'm fine, thanks. Well, perhaps better than Barry Bonds, although he'll always be a lot richer. Anything in the grand jury testimony, anything new, that we haven't heard before?

Mr. BRYANT: Well, I think almost the new thing, if you hadn't read the San Francisco Chronicle over the past couple of years, has just been that there is a second drug test that the prosecutors are alleging that Barry Bonds had failed and, well, that his testosterone levels were high, and also a third that did not prove much, but however…

I think what it really says is it's the first clues of the tug-of-war between the prosecution and the defense that's going to come and also pretty much where the judge is going to stand, that this is not necessarily going to be exactly a slam dunk for the prosecution. However, it does show, as well, that the federal government is going to just re-do their case, and it's not going to be that difficult to tighten up what the judge wanted tightened.

And so it seems to me that Barry is in a fair amount of trouble simply because of the revelations of the second drug test.

SIMON: Yeah, so as you see it, it doesn't substantially alter the basic case?

Mr. BRYANT: It doesn't change it, no, it doesn't - because once again, I think the interesting part was that it seemed like it was a victory for the defense and also because they wanted the federal government to re-do the indictment.

SIMON: Yeah.

Mr. BRYANT: But it's also a blow to Barry because when you're in the public eye, he had always alleged that he had never used, and now you've got two examples that they're going to prove that indeed he did. So it doesn't look good for him.

SIMON: Is he going to play baseball this year somewhere?

Mr. BRYANT: Well, I've been saying to people over the last few days, because we've heard stories that the Tampa Bay Rays want to - notice no Devil anymore -notice the Tampa Bay Rays don't - they've been thinking about signing Bonds.

SIMON: I was about to say if he signs, some people might choose to amend that, but go ahead.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. BRYANT: It's a great slap in the face to baseball, and baseball is slapping the public in the face because they say they keep wanting to move on, and yet you have these organizations continuing wanting to bring back the faces of the steroid era. So indeed if he does play again, it's just more proof that baseball is not really serious about moving forward, that moving forward is a euphemism for business as usual.

SIMON: What about Japan? Is that a possibility?

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. BRYANT: You know, now if we're going to talk about globalization, well I guess all bets are off.

SIMON: This week, the Justice Department, we learned - it's been reported - has been asked to investigate Roger Clemens over his testimony before a congressional committee. Do you see this as a fit use for the time of Congress? Does it have any potential impact on the rest of the steroids investigations?

Mr. BRYANT: They really didn't have much of a choice. If you were going to allow Brian McNamee and Roger Clemens to make a mockery of your hearing, then you couldn't allow this to end in a stalemate. Somebody was clearly lying under oath back on February 13, I believe, and so there wasn't really a whole lot you could do.

And of course it's a proper use of the time because I think that at the end of the day, if the public says okay, well one of these guys is allowed to lie, what does it say about the process?

SIMON: Howard, thanks so much.

Mr. BRYANT: As always.

SIMON: Howard Bryant, senior writer for Espn.com and ESPN the Magazine.

Copyright © 2008 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.