SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – The government was barred during trial on Tuesday from playing a tape that would substantiate the testimony of its star witness in the perjury case against former Giants athlete Barry Bonds.
The ballplayer’s childhood friend, Steve Hoskins, had testified that he was unable to find a secret recording he made of at least one conversation with Bond’s orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Arthur Ting, about the ballplayer’s steroid use. On Monday, federal prosecutors said they found what Bond’s lawyer Allen Ruby referred to Tuesday as the “miracle tape.”
U.S. District Judge Susan Illston ruled that the jury will not get to hear the tape, but Bonds cannot use the lack of a tape to discredit Hoskins. “The defense cannot argue that his credibility is diminished because he couldn’t find the tape,” she said. “With that caveat, I exclude the tape. It’s barely intelligible. The probative value is very low.”
Illston added that admitting the tape would only further complicate and prolong the case by raising questions of why Hoskins had only just found it.
Bonds is accused of obstruction of justice and making false statements to a federal grand jury in 2007, when he was called to testify about steroids in connection with the government’s investigation of the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (BALCO) and his former trainer, Greg Anderson.
The home run champ may be called to the stand tomorrow, defense attorney Ruby said.
During Tuesday’s proceedings, the jury heard the transcript of Bonds’ 2007 grand jury testimony read aloud in court. In that testimony, Bonds claimed he never discussed steroids with Anderson, another of his childhood friends, and that Anderson never injected him with anything.
Bonds said Anderson did rub some cream on his arm and gave him flaxseed oil to ingest, but the trainer never referred to either as a steroid or a substance that would make steroids undetectable on a drug test. The testimony revealed Bonds was suffering from arthritis pain when Anderson gave him the cream and the alleged flaxseed oil. Bonds said he asked Anderson for a substance to help him recover from rigorous workouts and game play, and that he trusted Anderson though he was skeptical that the cream and the oil would work.
“I’m 39 years old, I’m dealing with pain. All I want is pain relief. I’m like, dude whatever, but he’s my friend, you know,” Bond said. He added that the few times Anderson gave him the oil or the cream, it was always in public, at the ball park.
Bonds added that Anderson also gave him protein shakes and unlabeled vitamin supplements, but that he never felt the need to ask Anderson what the pills were. “I had no reason to doubt what he was giving me because we were friends,” Bonds said.
He said he took Anderson on as a trainer in 1998 and that he liked Anderson’s “philosophy” of training year-round. While Anderson refused payment, Bonds paid for Anderson’s son to attend a private Montessori school that Bonds’ daughter also attended. “Greg didn’t want any money from me, I felt guilty,” Bonds said. “I said, dude, at least let me give you some money to keep your kid in school.”
Bonds also said he never knowingly took testosterone or human-growth hormone, and that he never allowed Anderson to inject him with anything. This statement directly contradicts testimony from Steve Hoskins, Bonds’ former girlfriend Kim Bell and his former personal shopper Kathy Hoskins, the only federal witness who said she actually saw Anderson administer an injection.
Throughout the testimony, Bonds repeatedly said that Anderson would never have given him steroids, HGH or testosterone because he knew “it would jeopardize our friendship.” He said Anderson “was a good kid” and he intended to stick by him.
They never talked about the investigation, Bonds said, though at one point Bonds asked Anderson “what it was like having your door blown down.”
When asked by federal prosecutors whether he took clomiphene, an estrogen drug thought to help athletes hide steroid use, Bonds answered, “I never heard of it.”
Earlier Tuesday morning, Dr. Don Catlin of the UCLA Olympic Analytical Lab testified that Bonds’ urine had tested positive for clomiphene.