February 5, 2009

Barry Bonds pleads innocent

Baseball slugger Barry Bonds entered a plea of innocent to perjury and obstruction of justice charges Thursday in a federal court in San Francisco.

Bonds, 44, made an appearance before a federal magistrate related to allegations that he lied to a federal grand jury in 2003 in a statement saying that he never knowingly used steroids.

A trial on the charges is scheduled to begin March 2 before U.S. District Judge Susan Illston. Several current and former major league baseball players are expected to testify at the trial.

Bonds' appearance came one day after government documents in the case were unsealed. Those documents allege Bonds tested positive for two steroids in 2000 and 2001.

Bonds holds the Major League Baseball record with 762 home runs hit over a 22-season career with the Pittsburgh Pirates and San Francisco Giants. He was selected the National League's most valuable player seven times, including each season 2001-04 when he hit a total of 209 home runs. His 73 homers in 2001 is also a major league record.