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Bonds pleads not guilty on all counts


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SAN FRANCISCO -- Barry Lamar Bonds, Major League Baseball's all-time home run leader, pleaded not guilty on Friday morning to four counts of perjury and one count of obstruction of justice for allegedly lying about his use of performance-enhancing drugs in testimony given to a grand jury four years ago. Bonds was released on $500,000 personal recognizance, meaning he won't have to put up a bond unless he violates the conditions of his release. He was not placed on any travel restrictions.

 

No date for a trial -- U.S. v. Bonds -- was set. A status hearing instead was scheduled for Feb. 7.

 

The first steps in the case were accomplished in front of a crowded courtroom No. 10 at the federal building in San Francisco.

 

The arraignment proceedings took about 20 minutes. Attorney Allen Ruby entered the plea on Bonds' behalf before U.S. Magistrate Judge Maria-Elena James, and that was followed immediately by U.S. District Judge Susan Illston setting the date for the status hearing.

 

Bonds was accompanied by five other attorneys, including Cris Arguedas and Michael Rains.

 

Bonds, wearing a dark blue suit, white shirt and striped tie, waived his right to a speedy trial and answered a number of perfunctory questions, including his name and age.

 

Earlier, Bonds waved to a crowd of onlookers as he arrived at the courthouse at about 8:40 a.m. PT, went through the metal detectors in the lobby and took the elevator to the 19th floor, where the hearing was scheduled.

 

Bonds, the former Giants slugger with 762 career homers, first appeared before a grand jury investigating the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative on allegations of money laundering and illegally dispensing performance-enhancing drugs on Dec. 4, 2003. He testified under oath on numerous occasions that he had never used anabolic steroids, testosterone and human growth hormone or had been administered any of those drugs with a needle during the period from 2000-2002.

 

The indictment cited the actual grand jury testimony elicited from Bonds, alleging that Bonds committed perjury on 19 occasions.

 

The investigation into the case against Bonds spanned four years, involved three grand juries and led to the jailing of Greg Anderson, Bonds' former personal trainer, for refusing to testify against Bonds. Anderson, one of five people ultimately charged in the case, previously had served three months in prison and three months under house arrest in a plea bargain arrangement. Victor Conte, BALCO's president and founder, was the only other principal to go to prison.

 

Anderson was released from a federal prison in Dublin, Calif., on Nov. 15, shortly after the indictment against Bonds was unsealed.

 

Friday's hearing occurred four months to the day in San Francisco -- Aug. 7 -- on which Bonds hit his 756th home run to pass Hank Aaron and set Major League Baseball's all-time home run record. Currently a free agent, Bonds played his final game for the Giants on Sept. 26 at AT&T Park. He was told at the end of September that the club would not consider bringing him back for a 16th season as a Giant, although Bonds, 43, says he is determined to play elsewhere in 2008.

 

Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com. The Associated Press contributed to this report. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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