Witnesses the public never heard about had provided testimony that prosecutors felt was damning, and the government was already confident in the case. Two attorneys close to the investigation told the New York Daily News at the time that the government had sought and received a six-month extension but planned to postpone grand jury testimony about Bonds until September at the earliest while they pursued other matters. One of those matters was Marion Jones, who tearfully pleaded guilty to obstructing justice in October after years of fervent, unqualified denials.
The sources said the government intended to seek an indictment of Bonds next and were confident the grand jury would return one.
Nearly four years to the day after Bonds entered the grand jury room, he will return to the federal courthouse to be arraigned. Six years after he obliterated the single-season home run record once held by the now-disgraced Mark McGwire, and just three months after he passed Hank Aaron to become the game's all-time home run leader, Bonds' already-teetering legacy has taken a full body shot.
MLB officials told ESPN's investigative unit that they think Bonds' career is over and they won't even bother to suspend him. Rains' predictions, Bonds' protestations and public speculation have become meaningless. If Bonds pleads guilty, he probably will go to prison. If he decides to fight, then his freedom will depend on what the government can prove, and what he and Rains can do to convince a jury and a skeptical world of his innocence.
Mark Fainaru-Wada and T.J. Quinn are investigative reporters for ESPN. Fainaru-Wada co-authored "Game of Shadows" with Lance Williams. Quinn has reportedly extensively on BALCO and steroids.