A report posted on Yahoo Sports today contends that Barry Bonds may not have perjured himself in federal court, because the drugs he is accused of taking—and lying about—were not actually illegal.
It seems that someone actually took the time to read the 30,000 pages of court documents that were made public from the rather extensive BALCO case and discovered an interesting little tidbit about the "Clear," the "designer steroid" at the heart of the investigation. Before 2005, the main ingredient in the "Clear"—tetrahydrogestrinone (THG)—was not illegal. It was unapproved for sale by the FDA, but it was not a banned steroid. So when Bonds said he didn't know if he took a steroid, well ... technically he didn't take one. And when you're on trial for perjury, "technically" is all that matters.
The story also implies that prosecutors would have known that fact, and made their questions to Bonds intentionally vague as a result. Perjury charges are notoriously hard enough to prove in a court of law, and if this latest report is true, the case against Bonds gets that much more difficult to win.
The most interesting part may be the reason why THG was not banned in the first place: Because there is no evidence that it actually did what it was supposed to. No one had (or has?) ever studied it, so for all we know, this entire brouhaha was over a drug that didn't even work. Awesome.