March 24, 2011
The prosecutors may not be able to get Barry Bonds to admit he used steroids, and they might not be able to convince Bonds' former trainer to testify against him, but the feds will not stop short from taking advantage of one of Bonds' many broken relationships. By calling Bonds' former friend to the stand on Wednesday, the prosecution wanted to get solid evidence that Bonds knowingly injected steroids into his person and therefore lied to a grand jury.
Wednesday's Main Event: Bonds' childhood friend and one-time valet Steve Hoskins took the stand after Bonds' lawyer Allen Ruby (below) finished up his cross-examination of federal agent Jeff Novitzky early. Hoskins, who helped Bonds sell memorabilia and did odd jobs like purchasing shoes for the slugger, broke off their relationship in 2003 after Bonds accused him of forging his autograph to make a few extra bucks. Wednesday's smoking gun for the defense was an audio recording that Hoskins secretly made of Bonds' former trainer Greg Anderson talking about administering undetectable substances — or what the kids are calling steroids nowadays.
Lead prosecutor Matt Parrella won a big battle just before the first recess when U.S. District Judge Susan Illston allowed the use of the recording in the trial with the warning that Anderson's statements could not be discussed. Since Anderson has been jailed for contempt of court, he can't be there to defend the things he said eight years ago, no matter how damning.
More importantly, Hoskins testified that Bonds asked him to investigate the steroid Winstrol on his behalf in 1999. He also swore that he saw Bonds and Anderson sneak off to a bedroom with a syringe at a house Bonds rented during spring training for three straight years. Worst of all, Hoskins claims that he heard Bonds and Anderson arguing about who would do the sticking. If Anderson was the one who jabbed the needle into Barry, that would refute Barry's testimony that only his doctor injected him.
When The Circus Comes To Town: The prosecutors were not the only ones noodling around with audio players Wednesday. Bonds' lead lawyer Allen Ruby tried to play a bit of the same secret audio recording that Hoskins made of Greg Anderson, only the quality was so poor that neither the jurors nor ever Hoskins himself could make out who was speaking or what they were saying. Without subtitles, transcripts, or even a sign language interpreter in the courtroom, Ruby ignored the content of the conversation and tried to snag Hoskins on when the audio was recorded.
Hoskins first said the secret recording was made before March 2003, but later said it was made just after the season started, which would be around April. If Hoskins claimed that he and Bonds broke up in March but the conversation was recorded in April, then Ruby can show that Hoskins sought to record it out of spite, not as an intervention tactic.
The lesson here: If you are going to make secret recordings of people for whatever reason, use a high-quality digital recorder. Nobody wants to fuss around with these off-brand with the poor microphones. Spring for the Sony.
Quote of the Day: From Hoskins' auditory subterfuge, here's Bonds' trainer Greg Anderson, the man jailed Wednesday for refusing to testify:
"The whole thing is, everything that I've been doing at this point, it's all undetectable."
Anderson may be staring at concrete walls in his jail cell but his disembodied voice was still in the courtroom.
Picture of the day:
Barry Bonds, second from right, stands outside a federal courthouse as his aunt, Rosie Bonds Kreidler, left, laughs Wednesday,
What's next: On Thursday, Steve Hoskins will get sworn in once again before he reluctantly reclaims his seat on the witness stand. Also on the upcoming witness list: longtime Giants clubhouse attendant Mike Murphy, who we promised would take the stand Wednesday, but sat on his hands with Hoskins stealing the spotlight for well over four long hours.
Convict-o-Meter: Lowered one notch to 4 out of 10 Thursday. Hoskins' own statements presented solid facts about Bonds' interest in steroids and pointy things. But the audio recording was difficult to follow and not convincing. Hoskins sweated during cross-examination as he was made out to seem vengeful by the defense.