A steroids expert told jurors in the perjury trial of home-run record holder Barry Bonds in federal court in San Francisco Thursday that two designer drugs allegedly used by Bonds were carefully designed to avoid detection.
Larry Bowers, a chemist who is the chief scientist at the nonprofit U.S. Anti-Doping Agency in Colorado, was the third prosecution witness in Bonds' trial, which began this week.
He said an anabolic steroid known as "the clear," or THG, was "pretty cleverly designed" and was not detectable by most drug testing protocols in 2003. The scientific name for THG is tetrahydrogestrinone.
Another steroid known as "the cream" was designed to "basically fool the laboratory," Bower said.
Bowers said doping authorities became aware of THG after being anonymously sent a syringe of it in 2003, and eventually developed a test for it. He said THG was not specifically listed as a federally controlled substance in 2003 but was added to the list by 2005.
The scientist said that in his 35 years in the field of drug monitoring, "We were always concerned about designer steroids, a compound specifically made to avoid detection.
Bonds, 46, is accused of lying to a federal grand jury in December 2003 when he said he never knowingly received steroids or other performance-enhancing drugs from his trainer, Greg Anderson.
The former San Francisco Giants slugger is not on trial for taking steroids, but rather for making false statements before the grand jury. The panel was investigating sports drugs sales by the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative, or BALCO.
Defense attorneys have said that Bonds admitted to the grand jury that he used "the clear" and "the cream," but said he thought they were flaxseed oil and an arthritis cream.
Prosecutors are seeking to use a variety of evidence in the four-week trial, including testimony from other athletes who received the drugs from Anderson, to try to prove that Bonds did know what the substances were.
Bonds set Major League Baseball's single-season and career home-run records while playing for the Giants.
He is the last of 11 defendants who were charged with either lying or distributing performance-enhancing drugs in connection with the BALCO probe. The others, including chemist Patrick Arnold, who designed "the clear," all pleaded guilty or were convicted of various charges.