Friday, February 13, 2009
Updated: February 14, 10:05 PM ET
Bonds trainer to be called to testify
By Mark Fainaru-Wada
SAN FRANCISCO -- The government says it has four witnesses who will testify to firsthand knowledge of Barry Bonds' alleged steroid use, including one who will say she watched the seven-time MVP receive an injection from his personal trainer, Greg Anderson.
In court documents filed Friday in San Francisco, the government described 39 potential witnesses it may call in its case against Bonds. Among those are:
• Bonds' former girlfriend, Kim Bell, who the government said will testify that Bonds told her he began using steroids prior to the 2000 season.
• Former teammate Bobby Estalella, who will testify that Bonds admitted using performance-enhancing drugs to him and that "they had several discussions regarding that topic."
• Bonds' former childhood friend and business manager, Steve Hoskins, who will say that he discussed Bonds' steroid use with the ballplayer.
• Kathy Hoskins, a former personal assistant to Bonds, who will testify that she watched Anderson inject Bonds. Kathy Hoskins is Steve Hoskins' sister.
The defense is expected to portray Bell as a jilted lover and Hoskins as a man who tried to steal from Bonds and then turned on his former friend when caught. The defense has kept close to its vest potential impeachment witnesses and/or information it will use to discredit the government's case.
The government also indicated it may call as many as five other athletes -- including Jason Giambi and former Giants Marvin Benard and Benito Santiago -- to discuss their relationships with Anderson.
The defense Friday released partial witness and exhibit lists. The exhibit list indicated the government gathered statements back in June 2003 from former 49ers great Jerry Rice and Dallas Cowboys receiver Terrell Owens, who was then with the 49ers. Those interviews, however, were not related to the steroid probe but rather to allegations Bonds made regarding Hoskins forging his signature on memorabilia.
During his grand jury testimony in Sept. 2003, Bonds denied using steroids, indicating only that he used what he believed to be an arthritic balm and flaxseed oil -- substances that, in fact, were two steroids at the heart of the BALCO steroids case, according to the government. Bonds also testified that he had not injected himself, nor had he been injected by Anderson or anyone else other than his doctor.
Bonds is facing 10 counts of perjury and one count of obstruction of justice. One of those counts relates to Bonds' denials about receiving injections. He is scheduled to go on trial March 2.
The government also indicated it has a witness who will testify about "incriminating statements by the defendant" related to "Anderson's steroid dealing," as well as money and steroid calendars found at the trainer's home during a Sept. 2003 raid.
"The defendant made the statements approximately one month after the execution of the search warrant on Anderson's residence," the government wrote.
In a separate filing, the government said former Giants trainer Stan Conte may be called to testify "about certain interactions he had with the defendant, about statements made by the defendant about Greg Anderson and the search warrant conducted on Anderson's residence."
As expected, the government also indicated plans to call Anderson to the stand, fully anticipating he's likely to refuse to testify again. The trainer previously spent 13 months in prison on contempt charges, and the government indicated it will ask Judge Susan Illston to put Anderson back in jail during the trial.
The government also laid out a series of positive tests from 2000 and 2001 that it hopes to enter as evidence. The positive test results, as well as doping calendars and drug ledgers, were discussed at an evidentiary hearing last week. Illston indicated she was likely to rule in favor of the defense, suggesting the evidence was mostly hearsay because it stemmed from material collected by Anderson -- who, again, isn't expected to testify.
Earlier this week, the government offered a new argument to enter the evidence, claiming that Anderson was acting as Bonds' "agent" in collecting blood and urine samples and giving them to BALCO for analysis. The government claimed that because Bonds admitted this in his grand jury testimony, they could use this as an exception to the "hearsay rule."
The defense responded Friday by suggesting the government was working in "scattershot fashion" and that there is no evidence to suggest Anderson represented Bonds' "speaking agent," and that, "The weaker contentions now raised by the government fare no better than its previous failed hearsay arguments."
Another hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, at which time Illston could rule on the evidence.
Mark Fainaru-Wada is an investigative reporter for ESPN's enterprise unit. He can be reached at email@example.com.