- The Washington Times - Friday, December 3, 2004

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Barry Bonds testified to a grand jury that he used a clear substance and a cream given to him by a trainer who was indicted in a steroid-distribution ring but didn’t know they were steroids, the San Francisco Chronicle reported yesterday.

Bonds told the federal grand jury last year that Greg Anderson, his personal trainer and childhood friend, told him the substances he used in 2003 were the nutritional supplement flaxseed oil and a rubbing balm for arthritis, according to a transcript of his testimony reviewed by the Chronicle.

The substances Bonds described were similar to ones known as “the clear” and “the cream,” two steroids from the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (BALCO) at the center of the steroid scandal.

Bonds’ attorney, Michael Rains, said yesterday that the leak of grand jury testimony was an attempt to smear his client. Grand jury transcripts are sealed, and the Chronicle did not say who showed it the documents.

Mr. Rains described Mr. Anderson and Bonds as close friends who had been training together for about four years.

“Greg knew what Barry’s demands were. Nothing illegal,” Mr. Rains said at a press conference in Oakland. “This is Barry’s best friend in the world. Barry trusted him. He trusts him today. He trusts that he never got anything illegal from Greg Anderson.”

Even if the substances Bonds took were steroids, Mr. Rains said they were not banned by baseball at the time and the slugger believed they were natural. Bonds also maintains that the substances did nothing to aid his rise as one of the game’s greatest home-run hitters, Mr. Rains said.

“Barry was tested several times this year, and the results of those tests were negative,” said Bonds’ agent, Jeff Borris.

“He put together statistically one of the most remarkable seasons ever,” Mr. Borris said in an interview. “There are people in this world whose sole purpose is to try and figure out ways on how to undermine the accomplishments of others.”

Giants spokesman Blake Rhodes said the club wouldn’t comment and directed all questions to the office of Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig.

Tony Serra, Mr. Anderson’s lawyer, said Mr. Anderson “never knowingly provided illegal substances to anyone.”

The revelation of Bonds’ grand jury testimony was one of a series of developments in the BALCO probe, which led to indictments against four men in February.

ABC News and ESPN Magazine released excerpts of interviews with BALCO founder Victor Conte, one of those charged in the case, in which he says he watched Olympic track star Marion Jones inject herself in the leg with human growth hormone. Jones’ attorneys denied she ever used performance-enhancing drugs. Mr. Conte’s TV interview with ABC’s “20/20” was to air last night.

Sprinter Kelli White, who has been banned from track for two years after admitting use of several banned substances, broke down and cried Thursday as she recounted in an interview the first time she used THG, a once-undetectable steroid that BALCO is accused of providing to elite athletes. White’s comments appeared in the Chronicle, Los Angeles Times and USA Today.

On Thursday, the Chronicle reported Yankees slugger Jason Giambi told the grand jury he injected himself with human growth hormone in 2003 and also used steroids for at least three seasons.

Before yesterday’s Bonds story was published, San Francisco-based U.S. Attorney Kevin Ryan sent letters to two Chronicle reporters asking for documents and the names of sources used in their BALCO coverage, according to the newspaper. Mr. Ryan said his office was concerned about the leaks and asked the Justice Department to investigate.

Chronicle Editor Phil Bronstein said the reporters would not violate their guarantees of confidentiality to sources.

Dozens of elite athletes testified before the grand jury last year, including baseball stars Bonds, Giambi and Gary Sheffield and track stars Jones, White and Tim Montgomery.

The probe led to some athletes being banned from the Olympics and left a cloud of suspicion over others such as Jones, who were allowed to compete despite the investigation.

But Bonds is the biggest star of all, the holder of baseball’s single-season home-run record of 73 in 2001 and the man who could break Hank Aaron’s career mark of 755 as early as next year. Bonds ended last season with 703 homers and won his record seventh National League Most Valuable Player Award.

It is not certain what punishment, if any, Bonds could receive from baseball, which didn’t have penalties for steroid use until last year.

While discipline is spelled out for positive tests and criminal convictions from 2003 on, admission of illegal steroid use is not addressed, possibly giving Mr. Selig an opening to punish Bonds.

The Chronicle said prosecutors confronted Bonds with documents dating to his record-setting season of 2001 that reportedly detailed his use of many drugs, including human growth hormone, steroids and insulin. He said he believed he used only legal products to treat arthritis and fatigue.

Bonds danced around questions, saying he couldn’t explain a calendar with the name “Barry” on it; he had never seen a bottle that says Depo-Testosterone; he had never heard of the drugs Clomid, modafinil and trenbolone; and he couldn’t pronounce EPO.

Sheffield testified to the grand jury that Bonds arranged for Mr. Anderson to give Sheffield “the clear,” “the cream,” and another steroid from Mexico, but also said he did not know they were steroids, the Chronicle reported.

Bonds said he never paid Mr. Anderson for drugs or supplements but did give the trainer $15,000 in cash in 2003 for weight training and a $20,000 bonus after his 73-homer season.

Bonds said that Mr. Anderson had so little money that he “lives in his car half the time.” Asked by a juror why he didn’t buy “a mansion” for his trainer, Bonds answered, “One, I’m black, and I’m keeping my money. And there’s not too many rich black people in this world. There’s more wealthy Asian people and Caucasian and white. And I ain’t giving my money up.”

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