Kallas Remarks: The Latest On The Barry Bonds Trial
By Steve Kallas
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Week three (and, probably, the final week) of the Barry Bonds trial starts today in federal district court in San Francisco. Below is a recap of the main testimony of week two and what is expected for the remainder of the trial (for a recap of the indictment and week one of the trial, see Kallas Remarks, 3/28/11). Arguably the most interesting thing that happened is the government NOT calling a witness on their witness list (see below).
Probably the most damaging testimony against Barry Bonds, Ms. Hoskins, the sister of previous witness Steve Hoskins, is the only government witness to actually testify that she saw someone other than Dr. Arthur Ting (Bonds’ orthopedic surgeon) inject Barry Bonds. This is very important, as Count II of the indictment is a perjury count that discusses whether Bonds was injected by anyone other than Dr. Ting. Specifically, during grand jury testimony relating to whether anyone other than Dr. Ting had injected him, Bonds was asked, “But no other individuals like Mr. Anderson or any of his associates?” When asked that question about injections in the BALCO grand jury, Barry Bonds’ response was, according to his indictment, “No, no.”
Specifically, Ms. Hoskins, who was employed as Bonds’ personal shopper, testified that she was in his bedroom one day, packing his clothes for a road trip, when she saw Bonds’ (now-jailed) trainer Greg Anderson inject Barry Bonds. Kathy Hoskins testified, “Greg shot him in the belly button.’
She went on to testify that Bonds told Anderson it was fine: “Barry just lifted his shirt. ‘This is Katie. She’s my girl.’” She then testified (and this could be important with respect to other perjury counts) that Bonds said to her: “That’s a little something-something before I go on the road. You can’t detect it. You can’t catch it.”
Wow!! This is compelling testimony and, if believed by the jury, could very well contribute to a conviction of at least one (and possibly more) of the felony counts against Bonds. Despite efforts by the defense lawyers to discredit Ms. Hoskins on cross-examination, it says here that Ms. Hoskins distanced herself from her own brother (and week one witness) Steve (saying that she didn’t want to be involved with the case, that her brother “threw her under the bus,” and that she was “caught in the middle” of this whole thing) and did a lot of damage to Barry Bonds.
From the government’s perspective, this was the best testimony so far elicited in the trial.
DR. ARTHUR TING
Switching now to the worst testimony for the government, Dr. Ting was the orthopedic surgeon who operated on Barry Bonds eight times. Apparently, the government thought that Dr. Ting would corroborate the testimony of Steve Hoskins, who had testified in week one of the trial that he had about 50 conversations with Dr. Ting about steroid use and Bonds and that Dr. Ting had said to Steve Hoskins that Bonds’ 1999 elbow injury had been caused by steroid use.
Dr. Ting greatly damaged the prosecution with his testimony, stating that he had only one conversation with Steve Hoskins about steroid use and that it had nothing to do with Bonds. Dr. Ting also testified that he never told Steve Hoskins that Bonds’ 1999 elbow injury had anything to do with steroid use, that the conversation never took place.
And then, amazingly, it got worse for the government. On cross-examination, Dr. Ting testified that, after many of the operations (he performed eight on Barry Bonds), he prescribed corticosteroids, legal steroids, for Bonds to take while healing. The clincher: Dr. Ting testified that these legal steroids could give Bonds the same side effects that illegal steroids could give someone; that is, bloating, back acne, sexual dysfunction, weight gain and facial changes.
Needless to say, this makes much of Kimberly Bell’s testimony, at least arguably, much ado about nothing.
Originally hailed as the key witness in the case, Kimberly Bell’s testimony (she was Bonds’ mistress from 1994-2003) was greatly minimized (in this writer’s opinion) by the testimony of Dr. Ting, discussed above. But Ms. Bell did testify, at times graphically, about changes in Barry Bonds’ appearance, including shrinkage of the size of his testicles and sexual dysfunction, among other things.
While graphic and controversial, most of her testimony was undercut by the testimony of Dr. Ting, who stated that these changes could have occurred as a result of legal steroids that he (Ting) had prescribed for Barry Bonds. So, it says here, the testimony of Kimberly Bell was not nearly as important as the government thought it would be.
THE BASEBALL PLAYERS
Jason Giambi, his brother Jeremy, Marvin Bernard and Randy Velarde all testified at the trial that Greg Anderson, the trainer of Barry Bonds who is in jail for the length of the trial for refusing to testify, sold them illegal performance-enhancing drugs. Indeed, Velarde testified that he sought out Anderson because of his relationship wiuth Bonds and that Anderson injected Velarde a number of times.
None, however, testified to having any direct knowledge of any use of illegal steroids by Barry Bonds.
WHERE ART THOU, BOBBY ESTALELLA?
Arguably the strangest thing, not yet publicly explained by the government, is (apparently) the decision not to call former Giant Bobby Estalella to the stand. According to a government submission to the court in early March, Estalella was going to testify that Bonds had admitted to him that he (Bonds) had used performance-enhancing drugs and that they had several conversations about steroid use.
Needless to say, this would have been, potentially, incredibly damaging testimony against Bonds. While no reason has been (publicly) given for Estalella’s non-appearance, it is important to note that the government has not yet rested its case. But it doesn’t appear that Bobby Estalella will testify in this trial.
THE (FINAL?) WEEK OF THE BONDS TRIAL
According to the government, Dr. Don Caitlin, founder of the UCLA Olympic Analytical Laboratory, now on the stand, will be the final government witness. After he is cross-examined by the defense and, after the government reads in some of Barry Bonds’ grand jury testimony, the defense will present their witnesses. It is expected that Barry Bonds will not take the stand and then, closing arguments will be made to the jury.
The case should be in the hands of the jury by the end of week three.
SO, WHAT WILL HAPPEN?
It says here that there may very likely be a split-decision in this case. If the jury believes the testimony of Kathy Hoskins and, according to many reports, she was not shaken on cross by the defense, Bonds may very well be convicted of Count II of the indictment, where he denied having ever been injected by anyone other than Dr. Ting.
While one never knows what a jury is going to do, it would seem that, in this case, there is room for a jury to convict on one (or possibly more) counts and to acquit on one (or possibly more) counts of the indictment.
The Barry Bonds trial continues today (Monday, April 4) in federal district court in San Francisco.
Thoughts on the trial? Leave your comments below.