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Bad news Bonds

Sports | Already under a cloud of scandal, San Francisco slugger Barry Bonds may face tax evasion and perjury charges

Issue: "Mayberry no more," July 29, 2006

People know Barry Bonds is guilty of using steroids. A Harris poll conducted in mid-June revealed 81 percent of baseball fans believe the Giants outfielder has used steroids while piling up the second most home runs in major league history. The public certainty has much to do with Bonds' leaked words following grand jury testimony in December 2004, in which Bonds admitted to taking substances known as "the cream" and "the clear"-common euphemisms for popular steroids.

But can prosecutors make a legal case against him? Bonds' own lawyers disagree on the extent of the slugger's legal troubles. Hours after one of Bonds' personal attorneys admitted they were preparing for an indictment from a federal grand jury on tax evasion and perjury charges, Bonds' own criminal attorneys predicted the slugger would avoid charges.

Ironically, Bonds' connection with BALCO (the most condemning in the court of public opinion) is where the government's case is the weakest. While Bonds' admission to steroid use to the grand jury investigating BALCO founder Victor Conte soiled his name when his testimony leaked into the press, prosecutors can't use the secret testimony against him. And the go-between for Bonds and steroid factory BALCO has been jailed but could be released this month when the grand jury's term expires. A federal judge ordered Bonds trainer Greg Anderson to jail on July 5 for refusing to testify to the grand jury investigating the Giants star.

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Instead, federal prosecutors want to come after the slugger on tax evasion and perjury charges. And it's there prosecutors can build a case without facing a stonewalling witness or secret testimony. One of Bonds' former business partners, Steve Hoskins, accuses the star of failing to report thousands of dollars in income from memorabilia sales and autographs-cash Hoskins says he used to pay off girlfriends in order to keep the relationships secret. If only he could have bought off all his friends.

Around the Horn

CYCLING: Could it be a Tour de France without Lance Armstrong? The seven-time champion couldn't completely stay away from the French cycling event in this, his first year of retirement. Armstrong took advantage of the Tour's off-day to get back on the bike and pedal up part of the 16th stage to a ski resort in the French Alps. The French apparently weren't thrilled to have him back. After a bevy of death threats, Armstrong rode to the top of L'Alpe d'Huez with police snipers in tow.

GOLF: Teen golfing phenom Michelle Wie certainly generated buzz with her sponsor-exemption appearance at the John Deere Classic. But it wasn't exactly what the 16-year-old schoolgirl golfer had imagined. Midway through her second round, Wie, complaining of fatigue and nausea, bowed out of the tournament and had to leave in an ambulance. Doctors at a local hospital treated her for heat exhaustion and quickly released her.

FOOTBALL: For the second time in three years, Dallas Cowboys safety Keith Davis found himself on the wrong side of a gun. On July 16, an unidentified gunman in a car opened fire on Davis as he drove on a Dallas freeway around 5 a.m. Davis took two bullets-including one in the head-but doctors say he's fine and will only have to spend a few days in the hospital. In 2003, Davis took three bullets from an assailant as he picked up a friend from a strip club.


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