Sunday, March 20, 2005
Attorney: 'It's always been the U.S. versus Bonds'
SAN FRANCISCO -- A former girlfriend of Barry Bonds has
testified before a federal grand jury that the slugger told her he
used steroids, the woman's attorney said Sunday.
Kimberly Bell, 35, of San Jose, testified with full immunity for
about two hours Thursday before a federal grand jury here, attorney
Hugh Levine told The Associated Press.
Bonds has consistently denied ever knowingly using steroids.
Levine said Bell will likely testify again in the near future.
Bonds' attorney, Michael Rains, told the San Francisco Chronicle
in a story published Sunday that the slugger has no reason to be
concerned about her testimony. He accused Bell of attempting to
extort money from Bonds, and said she is using the platform to
promote a book about her life.
In February 2004, after a federal investigation into a Bay Area
company accused of providing steroids to professional athletes, a
grand jury indicted Bonds' former weight trainer Greg Anderson, Bay
Area Laboratory Co-Operative founder Victor Conte and two other men
on charges of distributing undetectable steroids. The case is still
Rains said the subpoena of Bell was an indication that Bonds is
the real target in the BALCO investigation.
"It's always been the U.S. versus Bonds, and they're always
just gunning for the big guy," Rains told the Chronicle. "I guess
this is just an extension of that."
Bell, who says she dated Bonds between 1994 and 2003, testified that the left fielder told her in 2000 that he had begun using steroids,
Bell has made similar allegations previously in interviews with
the Chronicle and Geraldo Rivera of Fox News. However, Bell
acknowledged she never saw Bonds use or possess drugs.
The grand jury testimony is sealed, and Levine said he wasn't
there when she testified. However, he told the AP, "It is my
understanding she told the grand jury" the same information she
revealed on Fox News.
The Chronicle has reported that court documents show authorities
found evidence that Bonds obtained steroids and other drugs from
BALCO. Conte also told investigators that Bonds received steroids
known as "the clear" and "the cream."
Bonds swore under oath to the grand jury in 2003 that he never
knowingly used steroids. He claimed his trainer had given him what
he thought was flaxseed oil and arthritis balm.
"It seems pretty clear to me she was subpoenaed after she went
on the Geraldo show and expressly said that Barry Bonds had used
steroids," Levine told the AP. "The lead (IRS) investigator in
the BALCO investigation ... became aware of that and made the U.S.
attorney aware of it, and they decided to put her in the grand
Levine said it appears the grand jury is investigating whether
Bonds lied under oath.
In an interview before she was subpoenaed, Bell told the
Chronicle that they began dating in 1994, while Bonds was divorcing
his first wife, Sun, and they continued after Bonds returned from
his honeymoon with his present wife, Liz Watson, in 1998.
The Chronicle also reported, citing two unidentified sources
"familiar with an account of her testimony," that Bell also
testified that Bonds gave her $80,000 in cash in 2001 in separate
$9,000 payments to help her purchase a house in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Federal law regulates cash transactions of more than $10,000.
Rains denied that Bonds ever made large cash payments to Bell.
But Levine said records show otherwise. "I certainly know that
there is some evidence in the nature of records showing that money
came from Barry Bonds and went toward the purchase of this house,
and that's about as far as I can go at this point," he said.
After they parted ways in 2003, Bell threatened to sue Bonds for
failing to pay off the Arizona house, then decided to write the
The government has subpoenaed Bell's bank records and about 90
minutes of voice mail messages from Bonds that she recorded, Levine
Messages left by the AP on Sunday with Rains and an IRS spokeswoman
were not immediately returned.