Prosecution rests case in Bonds trial
Judge denies bid to have newly discovered tape heard
SAN FRANCISCO -- The prosecution rested its case in the federal trial of Barry Bonds on Tuesday afternoon, concluding its presentation by reading Bonds' testimony before the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative Laboratory (BALCO) grand jury to the trial jury that is to decide his fate in these proceedings.
Judge Susan Illston, who earlier in the day denied a government motion to include a recently discovered tape recording by previous prosecution witness Steve Hoskins, sent the jury home for the day so that the two legal sides could discuss several defense motions in the afternoon, outside the presence of the jury, including one that may strike some of the evidence raised when Hoskins was on the stand.
Defense attorney Allen Ruby said his team's line of witnesses to be called beginning Wednesday includes two Internal Revenue Service agents as well as Harvey Shields, Bonds' conditioning trainer, and Laura Enos, Bonds' business attorney. Ruby also mentioned that perhaps even Bonds himself will take the stand, although Ruby said "maybe, maybe not" on Bonds testifying. Ruby said he might also recall Hoskins to the stand.
Bonds, the all-time leader in home runs and a seven-time Most Valuable Player, is standing trial on four counts of making false statements and one count of obstruction of justice. The charges are based on his December 2003 testimony before the BALCO grand jury, in which he denied knowingly using performance-enhancing drugs. Significant portions of that testimony were read, as one court employee was on the witness stand reading Bonds' answers to the questions, which were being read by another court employee.
Not pointed out, but included in the reading that lasted more than 90 minutes, were the four instances the government contends Bonds gave false testimony to the grand jury.
Before it wrapped up its case, the government called three employees of the UCLA Olympic Analytical Laboratory to solidify the chain of custody of urine samples from Bonds that were tested there, and then had Dr. Don Catlin -- the founder of the lab -- testify as to what the different charts meant. Specifically, Catlin testified they showed that the samples in question tested positive for the synthetic steroid THG, exogenous testosterone (or testosterone not produced by the body) as well as the female fertility drug clomiphene, known to be used to "jump-start" a steroid user's own creation of testosterone. The urine samples in question were part of Major League Baseball's 2003 "survey" testing, which was supposed to be anonymous; those samples were seized by IRS agents on April 8, 2004.
Following Catlin's testimony, Judge Illson denied the government's motion to include the missing tape recording Hoskins said was of a conversation between him and Dr. Arthur Ting. Hoskins, the childhood friend and former business manager of Bonds, informed the government Sunday night that he had found a microcassette recorder he'd referred to during his testimony but said was lost.
"I'm going to exclude the tape," Judge Illston said in making her ruling. "However, the defense may not argue against Mr. Hoskins' credibility on account of there being no tape of the second conversation."
Ruby referred to it as the "miracle tape" for its sudden appearance during arguments before Illston. The government had hoped to use it to recall Hoskins to the stand to clear up discrepancies between the testimony of Hoskins and Ting. Ting said he and Hoskins had discussed steroids once, whereas Hoskins estimated they discussed them 50 times. This conversation, which was secretly taped by Hoskins shortly after BALCO was raided, would have shown that they talked at least one other time.
The prosecution's motion to present the tape as evidence included a transcript, which did include conversation about performance-enhancing drugs and the BALCO raid. The defense motion said the recording, illegal because Ting -- if it was Ting -- didn't know he was being recorded, amounted to an attempt to extort Bonds and that the defense would have made a motion to exclude it before the trial even began if it had been found earlier. Illston, who had indicated Monday that she was not inclined to include the tape, made the ruling after Catlin testified.
"I find the tape inadmissible, it's barely intelligible," Illston said, adding that the tape raised too many issues with timing and authenticity.
Presented with four motions by the defense in the afternoon, Illston said she was inclined to deny three of them, including one to have her dismiss the charges because the prosecution had not made its case. The other motions that she said she was inclined to deny were one attempting to exclude the testimony of other professional athletes and another moving to strike expert and lay testimony about the side effects of performance-enhancing drug use -- except for perhaps Kimberly Bell's testimony about testicular shrinkage.
Illston, however, said she was inclined to grant a defense motion to strike a portion of the secretly recorded conversation between Hoskins and trainer Greg Anderson that was entered into evidence during Hoskins' time on the witness stand. She will announce her rulings when the trial resumes Wednesday morning.
Ruby, meanwhile, asked that another file on the digital recorder -- a separate device than the one Hoskins used to secretly record Ting -- be entered into evidence, and he likely will have to recall Hoskins to the stand to lay the foundation for it. The other recorded conversation is with Enos.
John Schlegel is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.