Thursday, February 19, 2009
Updated: February 20, 2:45 PM ET
Judge rules some evidence inadmissible
By Mark Fainaru-Wada and T.J. Quinn
Unless the tight-lipped personal trainer for Barry Bonds suddenly decides to testify in the seven-time MVP's upcoming perjury trial, significant pieces of evidence in the prosecution's case will not be admitted, Judge Susan Illston ruled late Thursday.
Illston ordered that lab results -- including three alleged positive steroid tests from 2000 and 2001 -- drug ledgers and doping calendars will not be admitted as evidence unless Greg Anderson testifies that the material relates to Bonds.
Anderson, Bonds' longtime personal trainer, already has spent more than a year in prison for refusing to testify before a grand jury investigating the seven-time MVP for perjury stemming from his September 2003 testimony in the BALCO steroids case.
Illston also ruled, however, that most of an audio recording of Anderson -- secretly made by Bonds' estranged business partner Steve Hoskins -- can be admitted into evidence. On the recording, Anderson tells Hoskins he provided Bonds with an undetectable substance believed to be the steroid known as "the clear"; the government believes Anderson also indicates on the recording that he injected Bonds multiple times. As well, Anderson tells Hoskins he was providing Bonds with "the same stuff" Marion Jones and other BALCO athletes had received.
Illston granted the defense team's request to exclude a part of the tape in which Anderson says he believed he would receive a week's notice before Bonds was tested randomly by Major League Baseball.
Prosecutors told Illston at a hearing Wednesday that Anderson's attorney, Mark Geragos, already has indicated the trainer will continue to remain silent on Bonds.
Without Anderson, Illston ruled that the government would be relying on hearsay to establish that urine and blood samples said to be Bonds' actually were his. And so, with no one to affirm directly the samples came from Bonds, Illston ruled there is no proof that the results of the tests or entries in doping ledgers actually refer to the ballplayer.
Illston also ruled inadmissible doping calendars believed to be made by Anderson for Bonds, as well as calendars for other ballplayers and athletes.
The trial is scheduled to begin March 2 in San Francisco, and Bonds faces 10 counts of perjury and one count of obstruction of justice.
The government claims it has four witnesses who will testify to firsthand knowledge that Bonds used steroids or was injected by Anderson -- three who say they discussed his use with them, and one who says she saw the trainer inject Bonds.
Illston ruled Thursday that she will allow the expert testimony of Larry Bowers, the senior managing director of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, about what physical changes a steroid or human growth hormone user might experience, including the shrinking of his testicles, male-pattern baldness and increased head size.
But Illston also said that in order for Bowers' testimony to be allowed, the government has to prove that Bonds underwent such changes. The only witness the government has presented to address the issue is Bonds' former mistress, Kimberly Bell. Illston ordered Bell to provide a declaration under seal by Tuesday about physical and emotional changes she observed in Bonds.
Illston wants to determine whether the testimony would be relevant or create unfair prejudice.
Mark Fainaru-Wada and T.J. Quinn are investigative reporters for ESPN's enterprise team. Fainaru-Wada can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org; Quinn can be reached at email@example.com.