Home run champion Barry Bonds asked a federal judge in San Francisco Monday to throw out 10 of the 15 criminal charges pending against him.
Bonds, 44, is accused of lying when he told a grand jury in 2003 that he never knowingly received steroids or human growth hormone and never received injections from his trainer, Greg Anderson.
He faces a March 2 trial in the court of U.S. District Judge Susan Illston on 14 counts of false statements and one of obstruction of justice.
The former San Francisco Giants slugger's six defense attorneys argued in papers filed with Illston Monday that 10 of the counts must be dismissed on grounds of "serious defects."
The lawyers contended seven counts of false statements aren't valid because the questions posed to Bonds before the grand jury or the answers he gave are ambiguous.
Another charge should be dismissed because it duplicates the same alleged lie given in an earlier count, the defense attorneys said.
And prosecutors left a crucial word out of one other count, the attorneys contended. The word is "material"; the crime Bonds is accused of is making material, or relevant, false statements before a grand jury.
The attorneys said the final count of obstruction of justice should also be dismissed because it incorporates the flaws of the earlier
Prosecutors' response to the motion is due on Sept. 24. Illston will hold a hearing on the request on Oct. 24.
Even if Bonds wins the bid for dismissal, he would still face five counts of false statements, each of which carries a theoretical maximum sentence of five years in prison.
The grand jury before which Bonds testified on Dec. 4, 2003, was investigating a sports steroids scheme operated out of the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative, or BALCO. Bonds is one of 11 people charged in the probe; the other 10 have either pleaded guilty or been convicted of sports drug distribution or lying.
Monday's filing is Bonds' second attempt at dismissal of charges.
He challenged an earlier, five-count indictment on the ground that some of the counts improperly contained more than one alleged false statement. After Illston agreed, prosecutors in May obtained a revised grand jury indictment that divided the original five counts into 15.
Bonds, now a free agent, set the Major League Baseball record for career home runs while playing for the Giants last year.
Bay City News