But while Rains, as he has since 2003, railed against the government and proclaimed Bonds' innocence Thursday, the government offered the first glimpse of a case rooted in "a mountain of evidence," as prosecutors once said in court papers.
Conventional wisdom, it turns out, was wrong.
The item that jumped from the 10-page indictment was the revelation of "positive tests for the presence of steroids and other performance-enhancing substances by Bonds and other professional athletes." The positive tests stem from work-ups performed on Bonds' blood and urine samples through BALCO, and if corroborated could be a damaging blow to Bonds' defense.
Already Rains has challenged whether the tests prove anything, but the previously undisclosed evidence was the first glimpse of the material the government has been secretly compiling against Bonds for almost four years.
That process began in early 2005, about a year after Bonds' testimony, as the conspiracy case against BALCO's Conte, Anderson and two other men was winding its way though the system. The government began to focus on bringing a perjury case against Bonds, and prosecutors' first witness was Kimberly Bell, Bonds' former girlfriend, who testified to the grand jury in March 2005 that Bonds had admitted he began using steroids in 1999, the San Francisco Chronicle previously reported.
From that point forward, lead agent Jeff Novitzky of the Internal Revenue Service's Criminal Investigation's division sought further evidence in building a case against Bonds. Anderson was subpoenaed to testify, but he refused and was sent to prison on a contempt charge.
Then-U.S. Attorney Kevin Ryan was overseeing the probe, and by the summer of 2006, prosecutors and other officials were convinced that, even without Anderson's testimony, there was ample evidence to seek an indictment, and that Ryan would push for one.
As it became clear, however, that Ryan might not be ready to pull the trigger, officials with the IRS and the FBI began lobbying the Justice Department in Washington for an indictment, according to the book, "Game of Shadows."
It didn't work.
Even though Rains told Bonds to expect an indictment, Ryan instead decided to empanel a new grand jury, extending the case and dooming Anderson to more than another year in prison. Anderson's attorney, celebrity lawyer Mark Geragos, said Anderson would receive no payment for his silence and would take his prison sentence "like a man." They felt the government had double-crossed the trainer.
The prosecutors initially had tried to get Anderson to cut a deal in which he named names, but he had refused. The government made the deal anyway, and after Anderson pleaded guilty to steroid distribution and spent three months in prison, he thought he was free from having to testify further.
This summer, as the second grand jury's term came to a close, Rains predicted the government would dismiss the grand jury without an indictment. Sources close to the investigation, however, said at the time that Rains was wrong.