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Home run king Barry Bonds indicted on perjury charges

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  • NEW: Bonds' lawyer accuses prosecutors of "unethical misconduct"
  • Bonds' personal trainer suddenly released from prison, lawyer says
  • It's the first official notice Bonds allegedly tested positive for steroids
  • Indictment says Bonds lied about taking steroids and receiving injections
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SAN FRANCISCO, California (CNN) -- A federal grand jury indictment on Thursday charged Barry Bonds, baseball's record home run hitter, with perjury and obstruction of justice and accused him of testing positive for performance-enhancing steroids.

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The indictment charges Barry Bonds with lying when he said he didn't knowingly take steroids.

Bonds, 43, repeatedly denied he had knowingly taken performance-enhancing drugs during his December 2003 testimony in an investigation that focused on a San Francisco-area laboratory.

The grand jury in San Francisco returned a five count indictment against Bonds, which includes four counts of perjury and one count of obstruction of justice and accuses him of lying when he said he didn't knowingly take steroids given to him by his personal trainer, Greg Anderson.

The indictment includes the first official public acknowledgement that Bonds allegedly tested positive for steroids and other performance enhancing drugs.

"During the criminal investigation, evidence was obtained including positive tests for the presence of anabolic steroids and other performance-enhancing substances for Bonds and other professional athletes," the indictment said. Video Watch why the indictment is so damning »

Perjury convictions carry possible prison terms of up to five years, while obstruction of justice can bring a 10-year sentence.

Bonds is scheduled to make an initial court appearance December 7, the Justice Department announced.

Shortly after Thursday's indictment, a federal judge released Anderson from prison, said his attorney, Mark Geragos. After admitting to distributing steroids, Anderson was jailed for refusing to cooperate with prosecutors investigating whether Bonds lied to the grand jury.

"I'm gratified that Greg is walking out," Geragos said. "However, after reading the indictment there doesn't appear to be anything new. I think keeping him in there for a year was punitive."

In a written statement Thursday, Bonds' attorney blasted prosecutors for releasing the indictment "to every media outlet in America" before sharing it with Bonds and his defense team.

"Now that their biased allegations must finally be presented openly in a court of law, they won't be able to hide their unethical misconduct from the public any longer," attorney Mike Rains said. "You won't read about those facts in this indictment, but now the public will get the whole truth, not just selectively leaked fabrications from anonymous sources."

Bonds has denied taking steroids at any time in 2001 when he was pursuing the single-season home run record. "During the criminal investigation, evidence was obtained including positive tests for the presence of anabolic steroids and other performance-enhancing substances for Bonds and other athletes," the indictment reads. He is also charged with lying that Anderson never injected him with steroids.

Allegations of steroid use prompted congressional hearings and new efforts by Major League Baseball to stop drug use, including a probe led by former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell. Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig said Thursday he would watch the progress of Bonds' case closely as Mitchell's probe continued.

"I look forward to receiving his report and findings so that we can openly address any issue associated with past steroid use," Selig said in a statement. "We currently have a testing program that is as good as any in professional sports, and the program is working."

President Bush, a former baseball team owner who has spoken against steroid use, is "very disappointed to hear this," said White House spokesman Tony Fratto. "As this case is now in the criminal justice system, we will refrain from any further specific comments about it. But clearly this is a sad day for baseball."

Bonds was granted immunity for his December 4, 2003, testimony before the grand jury. The indictment states Bonds was promised his testimony would not be used against him except in the cases of "perjury, false declaration or otherwise failing to comply with the court's order."

Bonds filed for free agency last month on the first possible day after the World Series ended with Boston's sweep of the Colorado Rockies -- severing his tenure with San Francisco. Giants owner Peter Magowan told him last month the club would not bring him back for a 16th season.

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Bonds, who has hit 762 homers, broke Hank Aaron's record with a shot into the right-center seats off Washington Nationals pitcher Mike Bacsik at San Francisco on August 7. But his achievements on the field have long been shadowed by the drug-use allegations.

He has been selected for 14 All-Star games, a record seven National League Most Valuable Player awards and eight Gold Glove awards. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

CNN's Terry Frieden, Dan Simon and Ted Rowlands contributed to this report.

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