Jurors in Barry Bonds trial told: no Twitter, Facebook

Paula Duffy's picture

In addition to the usual instructions given to new jurors, the men and women seated to decide Barry Bonds' fate will be told that sharing on Twitter and Facebook is off limits.

Rather than that being a given, defense counsel told U.S. District Court Judge Susan Illston that he wanted a very clear instruction regarding social media sites and networks, to avoid jurors' misinterpreting the caution that facts learned in the courtroom each day are not to be discussed among them or with anyone else.

Eight women and four men were seated on Monday after less than a full day in San Francisco's federal district court. Two women alternates were chosen as well. Bonds is charged with four counts of perjury and one count of obstruction of justice, resulting from his testimony to a grand jury investigating the now defunct Bay Area Laboratory Co-operative (BALCO) and its involvement with creation and distribution of illegal steroids.

Today's highlights are expected to include a decision by Judge Illston about whether to incarcerate Greg Anderson for the duration of the trial. Anderson, Barry Bonds' former trainer has continued to refuse to testify or otherwise cooperate with the prosecutors in this case. He has done so for years.

During the term of the grand jury that indicted Bonds on perjury and obstruction of justice charges, Anderson was jailed for two separate stints totaling more than one year. His current counsel, Mark Geragos has already said he will argue that his client is no longer deserving of more punishment. Illston has already told Geragos to expect her to disagree with his points and to get his client ready to be confined for what most observers believe with be two to four weeks of testimony and jury deliberation.

Anderson was the conduit between the former San Francisco Giants slugger and BALCO, which was the center and focus of a federal investigation that ended in indictments and jail time for its executives and others accused of trafficking in illegal steroids and money laundering, including Victor Conte, its founder and Greg Anderson.

Numerous athletes in sports such as track and field, cycling, baseball and boxing more were supplied by BALCO. Anderson is reportedly the person who administered substances to his client and kept logs of their use. Without his testimony and the written records, it has always been viewed as a much more difficult road to travel for any prosecutors who are serious about nailing Bonds for lying.

Bonds is the final person of interest to come to trial or adjudication without necessity of a trial in the BALCO scandal. The grand jury testimony was given in 2003, when the then outfielder for the Giants was given immunity from prosecution for telling all he knew, truthfully in answer to questions by the federal prosecutor in charge.

Along with Bonds, athletes such as Marion Jones, Jason Giambi, Gary Sheffield, Dana Stubblefield and cyclist Tammy Thomas testified. Jones, Stubblefield and Thomas are among those that have pleaded guilty to perjury and obstruction charges, with Jones having served six months in a federal penitentiary.

After Judge Illston makes her ruling about Anderson's confinement the two sides' counsel will make opening statements to the jury members. A summary of the Barry Bonds investigation and the BALCO scandal can be found, here.

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons, Barry Bonds 2006

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