Elite female pro cyclist to face perjury trial in steroids case
SAN FRANCISCO ” Former elite cyclist Tammy Thomas is heading to trial later this month on perjury charges after a judge refused today to toss out her case.
Strategies of both sides emerged during an hour-long hearing where U.S. District Court Judge Susan Illston and attorneys for Thomas and the government hammered out the contours of the trial, which is expected to last two weeks and will serve as somewhat of a beta test for Major League Baseball home run king Barry Bonds if he ends up going to trial over his own perjury charges.
Bonds and Thomas are both accused of lying to a federal grand jury about taking the steroid THG, which was designed by rogue chemist Patrick Arnold.
At the time Bonds and Thomas testified in late 2003, THG had not yet been listed by the federal government as an illegal steroid. Arnold also is alleged to have provided Thomas with another “designer” steroid that was unlisted at the time of her testimony. Bonds is not accused of taking the second drug.
“Neither were listed at the time,” said Thomas’ attorney Ethan Balogh. “We think that’s relevant.”
Ted Cassman, one of Bonds’ six attorneys, attended the hearing Wednesday and took notes while sitting in the gallery. He declined comment afterward.
Bonds has pleaded not guilty to four counts of perjury and one count of obstruction. Thomas has pleaded not guilty to five perjury counts and one obstruction charge. Her trial is scheduled to start March 24.
Illston on Wednesday said the prosecutors could call Dr. Margaret Wierman to testify about examining Thomas in 2000. Wierman wrote in Thomas’ medical records that the cyclist grew a beard and experienced voice changes after using steroids.
Prosecutors intend to show the jury that Thomas underwent extraordinary growth caused by steroid use.
Thomas and Bonds are among 11 people charged in connection with an infamous drug ring centered at Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative, or BALCO, that catered to elite athletes.
Eight people have pleaded guilty to drug charges, perjury or obstruction, including track star Marion Jones who admitted lying to investigators about using steroids.