SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – With the jury outside, Barry Bonds’ defense attorney accused federal prosecutors of withholding evidence that could discredit a diary that Bonds’ mistress kept during her relationship with the home run champ.
Prosecutors had previously provided Bonds’ defense team with a 70-page diary supposedly authored by Kimberly Bell, who dated Bonds from 1994 to 2003. When Bell testified before a federal grand jury in 2007, she claimed to have written the entire work, but the graphic designer who once posed for Playboy changed her tune on the stand Monday.
Bell told the court that crime writer Aphrodite Jones had embellished the journal as part of their efforts to co-author a tell-all book about life with Bonds. Bonds’ attorney Cristina Arguedas said Tuesday that a new version of the diary provided by prosecutors is two pages shorter than the original 70-page document.
“This was an attempt by her to evade responsibility for anything she had written in the diary,” Arguedas said. “Two weeks ago we got the slimmer one, and the obvious assumption is that the more recent one was written more recently, and that’s why we’re getting it more recently.”
Prosecutors say they immediately disclosed the second diary to Bonds’ attorneys after Bell told them she had “found” it among some papers. Arguedas’ argument implies that the government knew from prior interviews with Bell that the “diary” had been edited, but that prosecutors concealed the information to defend Bell’s testimony.
Arguedas further contended that Bell’s grand jury testimony and Monday’s testimony contained additional inconsistencies. “It also occurred to me this morning that she gave false testimony on the government’s preferred topic, which is the size of Mr. Bonds private parts,” Arguedas said.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeff Nedrow countered that Bell never lied to the grand jury on the subject, and clarified her description of Bonds’ testicles during testimony yesterday. “I think she clarified that on redirect,” Nedrow said. “She said, ‘Yeah, I know it’s kind of hard to say. I think about half the size.’ She acknowledged on redirect she was sort of estimating it. She was always consistent that she noticed something different, that they were differently shaped and smaller.”
Arguedas also said that the inconsistencies cast a poor light on the earlier testimony of Internal Revenue Service Agent Jeff Novitsky, who led the 2003 Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (BALCO) raid and found evidence of illegal anabolic steroid distribution. Last week, Novitsky said the IRS did not have a policy that required agents to make reports after interviewing witnesses prior to trial.
“Agent Novitsky testified that he didn’t make a witness report because of a long-standing policy of the IRS,” Arguedas said. “There is no written policy. That would impeach him.”
Nedrow countered that Novitsky could have still been following IRS protocol, even if there is no “written policy.”
Arguedas said federal prosecutors had withheld potentially exculpatory evidence in violation of the Supreme Court’s landmark 1963 case, Brady v. Maryland.
“They don’t tell us things that we have a right to know, that are contradictory to what their witnesses said,” Arguedas said. “I’m not going to ascribe a motive to Mr. Nedrow, but it is a consequence of their policy of not making reports and a complete disregard of the concept that they have to tell us when their witness says something that is different than what they said under oath.”
The judge will rule on Arguedas’ request for the government to provide any information from witnesses “not contained in their reports or grand jury transcripts.”