Bonds trial put on hold due to juror illness
Judge to weigh discovery of Hoskins-Ting conversation tape
The Barry Bonds federal trial was delayed Monday after a juror reported in sick, but there were key issues for the two legal sides to discuss with Judge Susan Illston outside of the presence of the jury.
While jurors were sent home from the U.S. District Court in San Francisco on the ninth day of proceedings, the government informed the court that Steve Hoskins, a childhood friend and former business manager for Bonds, had found a tape recording that he had testified earlier included discussions about steroids with Dr. Arthur Ting, Bonds' surgeon, several news outlets reported.
By the end of the day, Illston said that the tape recording was likely neither admissible nor relevant to the case, but she has yet to rule on whether the recording or parts of it can be allowed as evidence.
Hoskins, whose secret digital recording discussing steroids with trainer Greg Anderson was played for the jury early in the trial, had testified that he spoke to Ting about 50 times on the subject of steroids; Ting testified last Thursday that they spoke about it only once. Hoskins also had testified at trial as well as to the Bonds grand jury in 2006 that he had used a mini-cassette recorder, different from the digital one he used to surreptitiously record Anderson, to tape discussions with Ting, but that he'd lost it.
On Monday, the prosecution, led by Assistant U.S. District Attorneys Matthew Parrella and Jeffrey Nedrow, provided a CD version of the tape recording, which they said they received Sunday night, to the defense and was in the process of creating a transcript Monday morning. But the defense, led by Allen Ruby and Cristina Arguedas, mounted a strong protest to the Hoskins recording being found at this stage of the proceedings.
Bonds, baseball's all-time career home run leader and a seven-time Most Valuable Player in 22 seasons with the Pirates and the Giants, is standing trial on four counts of giving false testimony to a grand jury and one count of obstruction of justice in relation to his appearance before the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (BALCO) grand jury in 2003, in which he denied ever knowingly using performance-enhancing drugs.
Dr. Don Catlin, an anti-doping expert, was called to the stand Thursday afternoon before the court went into recess for the weekend and is expected to resume his testimony Tuesday.
Judge Illston will determine Tuesday whether to await the return of the stricken juror, who said he could be out as long as a week with what has been reported as either kidney stones or gallstones, or put one of two alternates in his place.
Once the prosecution rests -- speculation was it might have rested Monday, but that was before the Hoskins revelation and juror illness -- the defense is not expected to call many witnesses before resting. Depending on how Illston approaches the juror situation, the case still could go to the jury this week. It was expected to last 3-4 weeks, and this is the third week.
John Schlegel is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.