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Monday, February 9, 2009

Attorney for Bonds' Trainer Sums Up Ahab-Like Prosecution of Slugger as Testosterone-Fueled 'Game of Chicken'

Posted By on Mon, Feb 9, 2009 at 7:30 AM

click to enlarge Paula Canny, seen here with client Greg Anderson, says the Barry Bonds case has become 'a guys' contest'
  • Paula Canny, seen here with client Greg Anderson, says the Barry Bonds case has become 'a guys' contest'
When Paula Canny, the friend of and attorney for Barry Bonds' embattled former trainer Greg Anderson, is asked why the government has gone to such lengths to prosecute the former San Francisco Giant, she answers with one quick word: "Testosterone."

It's not that her client is accused of finding novel ways of boosting (and masking) the amount of that substance in Bonds' body. She feels this is a case of men -- and she does mean men -- trying to one-up each other.

"This has become an ego thing, not a legal thing. There's no rational explanation," she says. "It's a bad game of chicken. So when I say 'testosterone,' other than [Bonds attorney] Cris Arguedas, and me, there are no other women lawyers. It's so ironic a woman [Susan Illston] is presiding over this. This is a guys' contest in a lot of ways. We'd all be better served if they just had a Rock 'Em Sock 'Em boxing robot match."

Anderson spent more than a year in jail for refusing to testify in this case. When asked if her client would cooperate now, Canny said Anderson would "comply with any subpoena." When asked if he'd bother to answer any questions, she laughed and said "it'll happen when it happens."    

Canny isn't sure how much taxpayers have had to shell out to fund what she essentially describes as a legal pissing contest, but she's sure it's a vast sum of money. The many U.S. lawyers, IRS agents, and even Judge Illston herself would be paid regardless -- it's just a matter of whether it behooves the government to pay its employees for multi-year prosecutions of baseball stars accused of perjuring themselves or, say, Bernie Madoff-types.

Second, calculating the government's price tag becomes even more complicated when one factors in that members of the Los Angeles U.S. Attorney's Office were called in to investigate the San Francisco branch over grand jury leaks -- and New York- and Washington, D.C.-based federal lawyers have gotten involved as well. All told, Canny can't see how this trial has cost any less than $5 million to date. Allen Ruby, one of Bonds' defense attorneys, would only toss out an estimate of "many millions of dollars" thus far spent by the government -- but noted that "expenses spike as you get closer to trial, and this trial is in less than a month."

As for how much Bonds has paid to this point, that's anyone's guess as well. When asked how many attorneys he had working with him, Ruby chuckled and noted "I could tell you that, but won't." Calls to Bonds defense attorney Dennis Riordan were not returned and Arguedas tersely said "I am not making any comments on the Bonds case. And don't call me back because I'm never going to say anything different."

Coming tomorrow: Media critics explain why coverage of the Bonds case has crowded war, death, economic dissolution, and other semi-important matters off the front page.

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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