Thursday, December 20, 2007
Bonds' surgeon expected to be government witness in perjury case
By Mark Fainaru-Wada and T.J. Quinn
SAN FRANCISCO -- Barry Bonds' personal surgeon, Dr. Arthur Ting, is expected to be called by the government to testify against the slugger in his perjury and obstruction of justice case, according to a motion filed by the U.S. Attorney's office in Northern California.
The motion also suggests that two of Bonds' lawyers have potential conflicts of interest because they represented people who testified previously before the grand jury investigating the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (BALCO).
A hearing on the motion is scheduled for Friday. Bonds is expected to attend and waive the potential conflict.
Bonds was indicted Nov. 15 on four counts of perjury and one count of obstruction of justice. Surrounded by a legal team of a half-dozen attorneys, the seven-time Most Valuable Player pleaded not guilty at a Dec. 7 hearing.
It had been expected that Ting would be a witness, but this is the first the time the government has acknowledged the surgeon is likely to testify in the case against his client. It's unclear what information Ting could provide.
Bonds' lead attorney is Allen Ruby, who the government states previously represented Ting. In the government motion, which was redacted in spots, the government states that "Dr. Ting is likely to be a witness for the government at trial."
In April 2006, Ting testified before the grand jury investigating whether Bonds had lied to an earlier grand jury when he denied ever knowingly taking performance-enhancing drugs.
At the time, Ting's lawyer, Daniel Alberti, told the San Francisco Chronicle, "Dr. Ting always has been cooperative with the U.S. attorney's office, and Dr. Ting will continue to be cooperative."
Contacted Thursday, Alberti would say only that he still represents Ting.
The government motion doesn't indicate in what capacity Ruby previously represented Ting, but it does say he no longer is the doctor's lawyer.
Ruby declined to comment.
Bonds employed Ting as his personal surgeon for much of his career with the Giants. Bonds incurred a serious elbow injury in 1999, and Ting performed surgery to repair the damage. Bonds' former girlfriend, Kimberly Bell, told the grand jury that the ballplayer said the elbow injury probably was caused by his use of steroids.
Shortly before BALCO was raided by federal agents in September 2003, Ting had gone to the lab with Bonds to draw his blood, according to court records. In 2005, when Bonds missed much of the season with a knee injury, Ting performed three surgeries and drained fluid from the knee on several occasions.
Ting's clientele has included top-flight athletes in a wide range of sports. He is the San Jose Sharks team physician. However, public records indicate he has twice been disciplined by the state medical board.
Ting was placed on probation in 1996 following allegations he allowed a medical technician to diagnose injuries and write prescriptions for his patients. Ultimately, he admitted only that he improperly diagnosed and treated a patient's dislocated elbow. He was placed on probation again in 2004 after accusations he prescribed drugs to friends and kept inadequate records. In that instance, he denied wrongdoing and admitted only to being negligent in supervising his subordinates.
The government's motion regarding potential conflict also noted another Bonds lawyer, Cris Arguedas, represented four athletes who testified before the BALCO grand jury. They include disgraced track star Tim Montgomery and three former Oakland Raiders -- Chris Cooper, Chris Hetherington and Tyrone Wheatley.
The motion said none of the four is expected to be called to testify in the Bonds case.
Mark Fainaru-Wada, co-author of "Game of Shadows," and T. J. Quinn are reporters for ESPN. Fainaru-Wada can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Quinn can be reached at email@example.com.