Potential jurors have tough time judging Barry Bonds in perjury trial 

A 12-person jury was selected Monday in the federal perjury trial of Barry Bonds, but attorneys were careful to reject those who seemed to have already made up their mind about the former Giants slugger accused of lying about taking steroids.

“I would be reluctant to enter a judgment against a great athlete like Mr. Bonds,” a 61-year-old San Francisco man told Judge Susan Illston. The man, who described himself as a “fervent Giants fan” in a juror questionnaire, said he wasn’t sure he could give an impartial verdict.

The man also wrote in the questionnaire that he believed steroid use by athletes is acceptable.

From the initial pool of potential jurors who filled out 19-page questionnaires last week, Illston dismissed 38 based on answers, which included whether they had attended Giants games in the past five years, and whether they were familiar with the Mitchell Report on drugs in baseball or congressional hearings into steroids.

Some passed-over jurors wrote that they felt Bonds had knowingly taken steroids.

“It’s difficult for me to imagine that a professional athlete would not know with absolute certainty whether what he is receiving in his body is safe and legal,” a 37-year-old Oakland man said. “Millions of dollars are at stake.”

A 43-year-old Pleasant Hill woman wrote, “I saw Barry hit his 500th homer in person. I used to love to watch him play because he was a game changer. But I’m disappointed that he took steroids and lied about it. Also angry that other players aren’t on trial.”

One die-hard Bonds fan was exuberant in his defense of the home run king: “It’s my life,” a 35-year-old Napa man said. “I don’t know if I could judge Mr. Bonds after providing me with so much entertainment. It’s an intimate relationship.”

That relationship won’t extend to the trial.

aburack@sfexaminer.com

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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