Attorneys’ representation of clients in BALCO probe seen as potential cause of concern
By David Smith
Examiner Staff Writer
With the media crush of his arraignment behind him, Barry Bonds ventured back into court on short notice Friday with much less fanfare, to tell a judge that he wanted to keep three new attorneys despite the perception that they could have conflicts of interest should specific witnesses go to the stand during trial.
Bonds’ attorneys Allen Ruby, Cris Arguedas and Ted Cassman, who worked with Arguedas for previous clients, represented several individuals involved in the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative grand jury investigation, including Bonds’ former personal surgeon, Dr. Arthur Ting.
Federal prosecutors voiced concern that if the former clients of Bonds’ attorneys were called on to testify in the trial, then they, bound by attorney-client loyalties, would not cross-examine the witness as vigorouslyas needed.
That could leave any conviction open to appeal.
But Bonds, clad in a blue suit, more festive than the black suit he wore to his arraignment, answered “yes” and “yes, I do” to several of the judge’s questions confirming his understanding and intent to waive any conflicts of interest.
Court documents filed by federal prosecutors indicate that Ting, who was represented by Ruby, Bonds’ new lead counsel, for a month in 2005, is “likely to be a witness for the government” when the case against baseball’s most prolific home run hitter goes to trial as early as next fall.
Earlier this month, Bonds pleaded not guilty in federal court on one count of obstruction of justice and four charges that he lied to the grand jury in 2003, when he testified that he never knowingly took performance-enhancing drugs.
Arguedas, with Cassman accompanying her, represented former world-class U.S. sprinter Tim Montgomery and three professional football players, Chris Cooper, Chris Hetherington and Tyrone Wheatley during the BALCO investigation. In court documents, prosecutors indicated that they did not plan on calling these men to the stand, but they did not want any conflicts of interest to arise should the men testify.
Bonds did not take any questions from reporters, but Arguedas and Ruby maintained Bonds’ innocence and said their presence would not be a problem for Bonds.
“We have every expectation that both Allen and I will be in court fighting for Barry,” Arguedas said.
Written declarations from Ruby, Arguedas, Cassman and Bonds are due to the court Jan. 4, and a case status conference is set for Jan. 8. Bonds is not required to attend.