SAN FRANCISCO -- Indicted slugger Barry Bonds is scheduled to make a brief court appearance Friday for a hearing to determine if some of his attorneys have a conflict of interest in his federal perjury and obstruction case.
The judge called the hearing to decide whether the lawyers can still work for Bonds even though they previously represented other athletes who testified in the government's investigation into performance-enhancing drugs.
Bonds pleaded not guilty Dec. 7 to four counts of perjury and one count of obstruction of justice for allegedly lying to a grand jury about his drug use.
In court papers made public Thursday, federal prosecutors identified Bonds' new attorney, Cris Arguedas, as having represented disgraced track star Tim Montgomery and football players Chris Cooper, Chris Hetherington and Tyrone Wheatley, all of whom testified before the grand jury.
In addition, lead attorney Allan Ruby represented Bonds' personal surgeon, Dr. Arthur Ting, when he was called before a grand jury.
"Dr. Ting is likely to be a witness for the government at trial," the government's court filing stated.
The government said it doesn't plan on calling Montgomery or the football players, but it "can not foreclose the possibility" of calling them to the witness stand.
Prosecutors are concerned that Ruby and Arguedas won't conduct a rigorous cross examination of their former clients if called to testify, setting up an appeals avenue for Bonds should he get convicted. They argue in their court papers that Arguedas and Ruby can continue to represent Bonds as long as the slugger formally waives any conflict-of-interest concerns he has with the lawyers' representation of the potential witnesses.
Arguedas and Ruby didn't immediately return phone calls for comment Thursday.
Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.