SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -A federal judge on Friday unsealed Barry Bonds' grand jury testimony, an order that would make public what the home run king said under oath about his use of performance-enhancing drugs.
Federal prosecutors accused Bonds of lying under oath during his December 2003 testimony to a grand jury investigating steroid use in professional sports, and a separate grand jury indicted on him on four counts of perjury and one count of obstruction.
U.S. District Judge Susan Illston signed an order Friday making Bonds' testimony public after ordering prosecutors to amend Bonds' indictment so each of the five counts against him don't cite multiple allegedly false statements. Prosecutors originally accused Bonds of lying 19 different times during his grand jury appearance.
The indictment, unsealed last November, cites snippets of testimony in which Bonds denies ever ingesting steroids or human growth hormone. It quotes Bonds denying his personal trainer Greg Anderson ever injected him with steroids, which prosecutors alleged was a lie.
Illston agreed with Bonds' attorney Dennis Riordan on Friday that prosecutors must edit out many of the alleged lies or seek a new indictment, which could contain more charges.
Although Bonds is technically no longer under indictment, the practical effect of the ruling was to delay the case until prosecutors address the problems. Prosecutors are expected to decide whether to seek a new indictment before Bonds' next court date on March 21. They declined comment outside court.
Bonds was not required to attend Friday's hearing and has been excused him from the next court date, too.
The November indictment came just three months after the San Francisco Giants star broke Hank Aaron's career home run record, and it culminated a four-year investigation into steroid use by elite athletes.
During his grand jury appearance in 2003, prosecutors presented Bonds with a drug test showing a positive steroids result for a player they called ``Barry B.'' Bonds said he had never seen those test results.
Investigators said they seized other evidence against Bonds, including an alleged ``doping calendar'' maintained by Anderson, who spent about a year in jail for refusing to help investigators.
Anderson, who was released after Bonds was indicted, is expected to be called to testify if Bonds' case goes to trial. Anderson maintains he will refuse to testify if ordered, meaning he could return to prison.
Bonds, who has not signed with a team for the 2008 season, posted a message on his Web site Thursday, but did not mention his criminal case.
``I have been getting a lot of e-mails asking what I've been up to this past offseason. This winter has been the first time in my career that I've had the chance to take time for myself and really enjoy the time off. While at home with my family I have been able to work out of my office concentrating on my various companies, attending meetings as well as making a few business trips,'' Bonds said in a posting on barrybonds.com.
``I continue to work out and feel in great shape. Thank you again for your continued support for me and my family; it truly helps keep me strong.''
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