Big League Stew

Everything You Need To Know About The Bonds Trial: Day 1

Rob Iracane
Big League Stew

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Despite featuring one of the most well-known American sports figures of the past 25 years, the Barry Bonds trial will not prove to be the most exciting case in the history of the justice system. Bonds is not on trial for using steroids — as many might believe — only lying about whether he got injected with HGH by someone other than his doctor. True, the prosecution's onus is to convince the jury that Bonds did indeed use steroids to prove that a lie was told. But without Greg Anderson's testimony, the government is stuck with only three witnesses with an axe to grind on Barry's smooth head — an ex-girlfriend who posed for Playboy, and a brother and sister who Bonds accused of forging autographs.

So while this trial may never produce the "if the glove does not fit, you must acquit" moment, it might feature former big leaguer Bobby Estalella! And over the course of the next month or so, the Stew will seek to provide you with a daily update on the Bonds trial that has just gotten underway in U.S. District Court in San Francisco.

In other words, we follow Mark Fainaru-Wada on Twitter, so you don't have to. Our first synopsis of the previous day's legal proceedings can be found below: {YSP:MORE}

Tuesday's Main Event: The 12-person jury was selected with ease on Monday, which left Tuesday morning wide open for opening statements. The prosecution went first, and, in order to illustrate how close Bonds was to folks in the business of selling questionable supplements, U.S. Attorney Matt Parrella showed the jurors a now infamous magazine advertisement of BALCO owner Victor Conte, Greg Anderson and Bonds together and dubbed them "The Three Musketeers." But Bonds' attorney Allen Ruby objected to such a statement, and the judge sustained his objection.

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Ruby, the son of a former pro wrestler and a former pro wrestler himself, is — as one lawyer close to the BALCO case describes him — a larger-than-life persona with a baritone voice. He took his turn at opening statements, explaining that the ad was done by Bonds as a thank-you to Conte for providing his cancer-stricken father, the late Bobby Bonds, with protein shakes and vitamins. Ruby then went one-by-one through the prosecution's witness list, condemning each as a jilted companion out for revenge.

The government then called its first witness, federal FDA agent and James Carville's body double Jeff Novitzky, the lead investigator of the BALCO case against track star Marion Jones and a key source in MLB's Mitchell Report about steroids in baseball. During questioning by the prosecution, Novitzky claimed that Bonds was not the original target of the BALCO investigation, but only became a person of interest when he allegedly lied before the grand jury.

When The Circus Comes To Town: One of the prosecution's most important witnesses, personal trainer Greg Anderson, will be forced to follow this trial from a jail cell. Anderson, who the government alleges both provided Bonds and injected Bonds with steroids, was sent to the hoosegow Tuesday for contempt of court when he refused to testify against his friend. This marks the fifth time that Anderson will go behind bars for refusing to cooperate with the feds on a BALCO case, most recently a year's stint when he clammed up before Bonds' grand jury hearing. With just a few more consecutive contempt charges, Anderson will become the Joe DiMaggio of judicial disobedience.

Quote of the Day: Founder of BALCO Victor Conte, on the prosecution's nickname for Conte, Bonds and Anderson:

So, if we are BALCO's "Three Musketeers," who are they, the "Three Stooges?"

Picture of the day:

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Anderson (with goatee) hugs his sycophantic supporters on his way into court.

What's next: On Wednesday, Bonds' lead lawyer Allen Ruby will ramp up his cross-examination of Jeff Novitzky and try to prove that the Feds were after Bonds all along. Other witnesses due to take the stand on Wednesday include longtime Giants clubhouse attendant Mike Murphy, who will testify about Bonds' hat size (no joke).

Also on deck, former BALCO VP James Valente, who alleges that Bonds, along with Gary Sheffield and Jason Giambi, used the steroids called the "cream" and the "clear."

Convict-o-Meter: The Convict-o-Meter starts out in the middle, at 5 out of 10. The Bonds team put up better opening statements on Tuesday and parried with several objections during the prosecution's questioning of Federal Agent Novitzky. In the end, the defense's biggest challenge will be to jump Inception-style into the jurors' minds and plant a single seed of doubt. If that seed blossoms and the jurors will either question witnesses' credibility or second-guess the government's case, Bonds will add one more walk to his record career total of 2,558.

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