- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 6, 2011

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - A federal judge has granted prosecutors’ request to dismiss one of the charges against Barry Bonds in his federal trial for allegedly lying to a grand jury.

U.S. District Judge Susan Illston approved the request Wednesday morning, which prosecutors made after it became clear the judge was going to rule that they failed to prove a count that charged the home run king with lying when he denied his personal trainer, Greg Anderson, induced him “to take anything before the 2003 season.”

Prosecutors argued that charge meant that Bonds would be guilty if found to take have knowingly taken any steroid prior to 2003. But the judge disagreed, ruling that the charge alleged Bonds willfully used designer steroids dubbed “the cream” or “the clear” before the 2003.

Bonds admitted inadvertently taking designer steroids in 2003, but denied any use before then.

The jury will now consider four charges against Bonds. Two accuse him of lying about knowingly taking performance-enhancing drugs, a third charges him with lying about being injected by anyone but his doctors and the last is a catchall obstruction charge.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

A federal judge appears poised to trim the Barry Bonds perjury case before the defense presents a witness.

The question is how much will be left when she’s done.

U.S. District Court Judge Susan Illston said she will decide Wednesday morning whether to dismiss one of the five charges pending against Bonds, and whether to strike some of the material presented by prosecutors over eight days of testimony. The government rested its case Tuesday.

Bonds‘ defense is expected to be brief and it’s possible the jury will begin deliberations this week.

The owner of the major league mark for home runs in a season and a career has pleaded not guilty to three charges of lying to a grand jury in 2003, when he denied knowingly using steroids and human growth hormone. He’s also charged with one count of lying to the grand jury when he told it no one other than his doctor ever injected him with anything and another catchall charge of obstruction.

On Tuesday, the judge expressed concern about a count that charges Bonds with lying when he denied his personal trainer, Greg Anderson, asked him “to take anything before the 2003 season.”

The judge agreed with Bonds‘ attorney Dennis Riordan that she presumed the charged related to designer steroids. But prosecutor Jeffrey Nedrow told her the government alleges that charge relates to any type of steroid, which surprised the judge. She told Nedrow to submit written arguments on why the jury should consider the charge.

Illston also indicated she was likely to rule that testimony about Bonds‘ testicles allegedly shrinking _ a side effect of steroid use _ should be stricken from the record. Bonds‘ former mistress Kimberly Bell raised the issue on the witness stand, but admitted that she exaggerated when she told the grand jury Bonds‘ testicles shrank by half.

The judge said prosecutors could submit written arguments to try and change her mind.

Finally, it appears Bonds‘ attorney Allen Ruby will recall former Bonds business partner Steve Hoskins to the witness stand Wednesday to discuss recordings he secretly made with several of the slugger’s associates.

The judge said she is considering prohibiting the jury from considering portions of a recording Hoskins made in 2003 of a conversation he had with Anderson, allegedly about steroids.

Ruby said there is another secret recording Hoskins made that he wants the jury to consider, which is why Hoskins is being recalled to the witness stand. That recording is allegedly of a conversation Hoskins had with Bonds‘ business lawyer, Laura Enos.