Mon, Nov 19, 2007 - Page 18 News List

Lab founder says Bonds' positive not `smoking gun'

AFP , SAN FRANCISCO

BALCO laboratory founder Victor Conte told the Washington Post and the New York Times that the positive doping test cited in the indictment of baseball star Barry Bonds is not a "smoking gun."

Conte, one of five men convicted in the BALCO steroid distribution scheme, told the newspapers that US federal prosecutors who charged Bonds with obstruction of justice and perjury are struggling to make their case if the test is a key.

"If this is their smoking gun, then I believe they have some huge problems with this case," Conte told the Post.

Conte, who served four months in prison, said he knew the items cited in the indictment, including a November 2000 drug test of Bonds that showed steroids and links calendar notations citing "Barry B" and with the initials "BB."

Conte said BALCO officials took urine and blood samples during a 2003 raid of BALCO headquarters but noted that there was no way to ensure such samples had not been mishandled or tainted.

He also said the drugs found in Bonds' system could have been part of a high testosterone-epitestosterone ratio or tainted supplements or products that were legal at the time and available to the public.

"To see this now, what they say is their smoking gun, I don't see it," Conte told the Times.

Greg Anderson, Bonds' personal trainer and another man convicted in the BALCO scandal, spent a year in prison for refusing to cooperate with the Bonds grand jury.

Anderson's lawyer said his client, who was released on Thursday, never testified to the Bonds grand jury.

"I don't believe there is any new evidence," Conte told the Post. "They reached a threshold and came the realization that Greg Anderson was never going to testify."

Bonds is set for a Dec. 7 arraignment in San Francisco with a trial date likely to be set for early next year.

The region's office is also preparing for two other court cases involving lying to BALCO investigators, the Post reported.

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