Bonds guilty of obstruction of justice

By RONALD BLUM, AP Sports Writer
SAN FRANCISCO – Just like the whole Steroid Era: We’ll never really know.
Even the one charge that left Barry Bonds a convicted felon didn’t specify steroids.
Instead, a federal court jury found the home run king guilty of obstruction of justice Tuesday for giving an evasive answer under oath more than seven years ago. Rather than say “yes” or “no” to whether he received drugs that required a syringe, Bonds gave a rambling response to a grand jury, stating: “I became a celebrity child with a famous father.”

The decision from the eight women and four men who listened to testimony during the 12-day trial turned out to be a mixed and muddled verdict on the slugger that left more questions than answers.
U.S. District Judge Susan Illston declared a mistrial on the three charges that Bonds made false statements when he told a grand jury in December 2003 that he never knowingly received steroids and human growth hormone from trainer Greg Anderson and that he allowed only doctors to inject him.
Defense lawyers will try to persuade Illston or the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to toss out the lone conviction. Federal prosecutors must decide whether it is worth the time and expense to try Bonds for a second time on the deadlocked charges.
Less than two miles from the ballpark where he broke Hank Aaron’s career home run record in August 2007, Bonds walked out of the Phillip Burton Federal Building on a sunny, windy afternoon and looked on as his lead lawyer, Allen Ruby, held a sidewalk news conference. Ruby instructed Bonds not to comment because the case wasn’t over.
Impeccably dressed in black suit and purple necktie, with a few days of stubble on his chin, Bonds flashed a victory sign to a few fans.
“Are you celebrating tonight?” one asked.
“There’s nothing to celebrate,” he replied.
While Bonds stood on the sidewalk on the courthouse’s north side, the jurors — whose names are being withheld until Thursday — went out the south entrance and many lingered to answer questions. For now, most only would give their first names.
Amber, a 19-year-old blonde woman who was the youngest juror, said the final votes were 8-4 to acquit Bonds of lying about steroids and 9-3 to acquit him on lying about HGH use. The panel voted 11-1 to convict him of getting an injection from someone other than his doctor, with one woman holding out, she said.
Jurors decided to convict Bonds on the obstruction count on Tuesday; on Wednesday they decided they could not come to unanimous decisions on the rest.
There was initial confusion when the jurors informed Illston’s clerk, Tracy Forakis, that they had reached a verdict, and the court made a public announcement. But when Forakis went back to the jury room, the panel said the verdict form wasn’t completed because there was a deadlock. The court then issued a retraction of its verdict announcement and Illston convened the lawyers, first without jurors, then with them, and learned they were stalemated on at least some of the charges.
Bonds, the seven-time National League MVP, chatted with his lawyers while Illston and the jury went back behind closed doors. When they returned, Illston opened a manila envelope with the verdict and handed it to Forakis to read.
Bonds leaned forward, looked at the clerk, but never reacted when the verdict was read. His mother, Pat, watched from a second-row bench.
“Divided, not unanimous,” on count one.
“Divided, not unanimous,” on count two.
“Divided, not unanimous,” on count three.
And then, just when it appeared Bonds would escape unscathed, came the final word from the jury:
“Guilty,” on obstruction of justice.
Dennis Riordan, one of the lawyers on Bonds’ legal team that numbered as many as 13 some days, asked Illston to throw out the guilty verdict and for a new trial on that count. Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Parrella asked the judge to set a sentencing date. Instead, Illston announced a May 20 date for a status conference.
“This case is about upholding one of the most fundamental principles in our system of justice — the obligation of every witness to provide truthful and direct testimony in judicial proceedings,” Melinda Haag, the U.S. Attorney in San Francisco, said in a statement. “In the United States, taking an oath and promising to testify truthfully is a serious matter. We cannot ignore those who choose instead to obstruct justice. We will decide whether to seek a retrial of the defendant on the remaining counts as soon as possible.”
Now 46 and far trimmer than he appeared in the final years of his career, Bonds faces up to 10 years in prison on the obstruction conviction. Yet federal guidelines call for 15-21 months.
For similar offenses in the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative steroids ring case, known as BALCO, Illston sentenced cyclist Tammy Thomas to six months of home confinement and track coach Trevor Graham to one year of home confinement.
Baseball’s season (73) and career (762) record-holder for home runs, Bonds testified before a grand jury that Anderson told him the substances he was giving Bonds were flaxseed oil and arthritic balm, and that Bonds didn’t know they were designer steroids.
“Did Greg ever give you anything that required a syringe to inject yourself with?” Bonds was asked.
His answer meandered, talking about his friendship with Anderson. The underlined part in the indictment, the crime he was convicted of, was this response: “That’s what keeps our friendship. You know, I am sorry, but that — you know, that — I was a celebrity child, not just in baseball by my own instincts. I became a celebrity child with a famous father. I just don’t get into other people’s business because of my father’s situation, you see.”
The jury instruction said that to be convicted, Bonds must be found to have “obstructed, influenced or impeded, or endeavored to obstruct, influence, or impede” the grand jury “by knowingly giving material testimony that was intentionally evasive, false or misleading.”
The defense plans to argue that Bonds’ answer wasn’t relevant to the grand jury.
The government “has determined it’s unlawful for Barry Bonds to tell the grand jury he’s a celebrity child and to talk about his friendship with Greg Anderson,” Ruby said.
Jurors said they unanimously agreed Tuesday on the obstruction verdict.
“When you’re in front of a grand jury you have to answer, and he gave a (expletive) answer,” said Fred Jacob, the 56-year-old jury foreman. “He gave a story rather than a yes-or-no answer.”
Jurors generally spent one day of deliberations on each count.
A 60-year-old juror, who identified himself only as Steve, thought the defense successfully impeached key prosecution witnesses Steve and Kathy Hoskins and Kimberly Bell during cross-examination.
“They tried to discredit the witnesses. They tried to make the prosecutors look like bad guys. Were they successful in doing that? Yes,” he said.
He also said the government was hurt by Bonds’ physician, Dr. Arthur Ting, who refuted many of Steve Hoskins’ allegations.
“I think the prosecutors got a big bomb thrown in their lap,” Steve said.
Jacob said the absence of Anderson — who was imprisoned during the trial on a contempt citation for refusing to testify — hindered the government’s ability to prove Bonds lied about steroids.
“We couldn’t connect the dots between steroids, Greg and Barry,” he said.
On the HGH count, he said: “There just wasn’t any evidence. HGH is very hard to detect and there wasn’t any scientific evidence. Everything was circumstantial.”
The holdout on the “needle” count was a juror who identified herself as Nyiesha. She said she didn’t believe the testimony of Bonds’ personal shopper Kathy Hoskins, who told the jury she watched Anderson inject the slugger in the belly.
“They were family,” Nyiesha said of the Hoskins siblings. “That left me with reasonable doubt.”
Nyiesha, a 28-year-old nurse, said she almost changed her mind Monday, but decided to remain steadfast after “sleeping on it.”
Other jurors said they found Kathy Hoskins to be the most credible of the central witnesses.
Jacob didn’t hold out much hope for prosecutors gaining additional convictions in a retrial.
If they want to “pursue this case,” he said, “they’re going to have to do more homework than they did.”
Bonds became the 11th person — and fourth athlete — who either was convicted or pleaded guilty in the BALCO case, which began in 2002. Other athletes, besides Thomas, include NFL defensive lineman Dana Stubblefield and Olympic track gold medalist Marion Jones, who also pleaded guilty in a check-fraud scheme.
It was a messy end to a case that put the slugger — and baseball itself — under a cloud of suspicion for more than three years since Bonds’ indictment. Former AL MVP Jason Giambi and three other players were forced to publicly admit their use of steroids. Bonds did not testify, and the defense didn’t even call any witnesses after prosecutors called 25 to the stand.
Next up is Roger Clemens, a seven-time Cy Young Award winner, scheduled for trial in federal court in Washington, D.C., starting July 6, on three counts of making false statements, two counts of perjury and one count of obstruction of Congress. That case may be delayed by wrangling over evidence.
Jeff Novitzky, the federal investigator who aggressively led the BALCO investigation, is at the forefront of a different grand jury probing Lance Armstrong, who has won the Tour de France a record seven times.
Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig did not mention Bonds by name in a post-trial statement. Instead, he stressed MLB’s efforts to rid the sports of performance-enhancing drugs.
“This trial is a stark illustration of how far this sport has come,” he said. “In contrast to allegations about the conduct of former players and the environment of past years, 2011 marks the eighth season of drug testing in the major leagues and our 11th season in the minors. With increased testing, cutting-edge research, proactive security efforts, and extensive education and awareness programs, we have demonstrated an unwavering commitment to keeping illegal substances out of the game.”


Judge ponders dismissing 1 charge against Bonds

By PAUL ELIAS, Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO – A federal judge appears poised to trim the Barry Bonds perjury case before the defense presents a witness.
The question is how much will be left when she’s done.

U.S. District Court Judge Susan Illston said she will decide Wednesday morning whether to dismiss one of the five charges pending against Bonds, and whether to strike some of the material presented by prosecutors over eight days of testimony. The government rested its case Tuesday.
Bonds’ defense is expected to be brief and it’s possible the jury will begin deliberations this week.
The owner of the major league mark for home runs in a season and a career has pleaded not guilty to three charges of lying to a grand jury in 2003, when he denied knowingly using steroids and human growth hormone. He’s also charged with one count of lying to the grand jury when he told it no one other than his doctor ever injected him with anything and another catchall charge of obstruction.
On Tuesday, the judge expressed concern about a count that charges Bonds with lying when he denied his personal trainer, Greg Anderson, asked him “to take anything before the 2003 season.”
The judge agreed with Bonds’ attorney Dennis Riordan that she presumed the charged related to designer steroids. But prosecutor Jeffrey Nedrow told her the government alleges that charge relates to any type of steroid, which surprised the judge. She told Nedrow to submit written arguments on why the jury should consider the charge.
Illston also indicated she was likely to rule that testimony about Bonds’ testicles allegedly shrinking — a side effect of steroid use — should be stricken from the record. Bonds’ former mistress Kimberly Bell raised the issue on the witness stand, but admitted that she exaggerated when she told the grand jury Bonds’ testicles shrank by half.
The judge said prosecutors could submit written arguments to try and change her mind.
Finally, it appears Bonds’ attorney Allen Ruby will recall former Bonds business partner Steve Hoskins to the witness stand Wednesday to discuss recordings he secretly made with several of the slugger’s associates.
The judge said she is considering prohibiting the jury from considering portions of a recording Hoskins made in 2003 of a conversation he had with Anderson, allegedly about steroids.
Ruby said there is another secret recording Hoskins made that he wants the jury to consider, which is why Hoskins is being recalled to the witness stand. That recording is allegedly of a conversation Hoskins had with Bonds’ business lawyer, Laura Enos.


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Day of reckoning as players detail drug use

By RONALD BLUM, AP Sports Writer
SAN FRANCISCO – One by one, they walked down the aisle of Courtroom 10 and took a seat on the witness stand for their public day of reckoning.

First Jason Giambi, the 2000 American League MVP. Then his brother Jeremy. And finally Marvin Benard, Barry Bonds’ San Francisco Giants teammate.
In the biggest mass confession to steroids use in baseball history, the trio testified Tuesday at Bonds’ trial. They all said they purchased and used performance-enhancing drugs from Greg Anderson, the trainer who is in jail for his refusal to testify against Bonds.
“I understood what it was. A steroid,” Jeremy Giambi said.
All three had told their stories to a grand jury in 2003, and many details of that testimony were published by the San Francisco Chronicle the following year. And the Mitchell Report in December 2007 detailed the rise of baseball’s Steroids Era.
But that was on paper. On Tuesday, the players were forced to answer questions in public from a federal prosecutor about how, when and why they took performance-enhancing drugs.
While Jason Giambi was a cleanup hitter for most of his career, the former Oakland and New York Yankees star led off the athlete testimony on the afternoon of the trial’s sixth day. Now a 40-year-old first baseman for the Colorado Rockies, he said he first met Anderson when the trainer accompanied Bonds on the All-Star tour of Japan following the 2002 season — just before the onset of drug testing in baseball. Giambi and Bonds were separated by only an empty locker in the All-Star clubhouse, and Giambi was aware that Anderson worked with Bonds.
When they returned to the U.S., Jason Giambi flew from his home in Henderson, Nev., to meet Anderson in the Bay Area, and Anderson said he would have Giambi’s blood tested to determine whether he was deficient in “zinc” and “magnesium.” When the results came back, Anderson informed Giambi his sample was positive for the steroid Deca-Durabolin.
“He told me that would trip the Major League Baseball test, and I should look into taking something else,” said Jason Giambi, wearing a blue suit, white shirt with checks and black-red-and-white striped tie. “He said he would send me a package of things that I needed.”
By mid-December, Anderson sent testosterone to Giambi along with syringes and vitamins.
“Did you understand that to be a steroid?” Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey D. Nedrow asked.
“Yes,” Giambi answered.
Bonds is charged with four counts of making false statements to the grand jury and one count of obstruction for denying he knowingly took performance-enhancing drugs. He told the grand jury that Anderson had told him he was taking “flaxseed oil” and “arthritic balm,” which in reality were designer steroids nicknamed “the clear” and “the cream.”
With the courtroom full and getting warm, Giambi, a five-time All-Star with 415 career home runs, said Anderson explained how the two designer steroids worked by raising both testosterone and epitestosterone and keeping the ratio roughly the same as naturally occurs, so as not to “trip a drug test.”
“It was very secretive to get your hands on it,” Giambi said.
“The clear” turned out to be Tetrahydrogestrinone (THG) and “the cream” was a testosterone-based substance. Giambi paid about $10,000 to Anderson for several shipments. At least one, possibly more, were sent under the false name “Johnny Bench.”
Before Giambi testified, U.S. District Judge Susan Illston told jurors the testimony was to show “the manner in which Greg Anderson distributed performance-enhancing drugs” but that they shouldn’t infer “the defendant engaged in certain conduct” just because other players did.
Bonds, in a gray suit, white shirt and gray tie, watched from the defense table, taking notes and occasionally looking to see how jurors reacted. He didn’t have any interactions with the players.
As Jason walked out after 36 minutes of testimony, he went past Jeremy, who was on his way toward the witness stand. As Jeremy left a half-hour later, he smiled and gave a pat on the back to Benard, who was on the way in.
Bonds‘ agent, Jeff Borris, attended the trial for the first time and watched from the Bonds family row.
Jeremy Giambi, tieless in a blue sports jacket and gray crewneck sweater, said he met Anderson only once but they spoke by telephone several times. When Jason got back from Japan, he told his brother about Anderson.
“He had said he had access to an undetectable alternative steroid,” Jeremy Giambi remembered Anderson saying.
Like his brother, Jeremy had his blood tested for Anderson.
“He had said that I had some deficiencies in a few categories, and also that he had access to some PEDs and thought it would be a good idea to go on and use these PEDs,” said Jeremy, who played for four major league teams from 1998-2003.
Speaking in a staccato clip, Jeremy said Anderson sent him vitamins, human growth hormone, testosterone and “the clear” and “the cream.”
During cross-examination, defense lawyer Cristina C. Arguedas read Jason Giambi’s 2003 grand jury testimony in which he said Anderson had told him “the clear and the cream had steroid-like effects without being a steroid.” Jason Giambi agreed with that testimony.
Benard, whose only big league team was the Giants (1995-2003), had a lengthier history with Anderson. After bringing back veterinary steroids he had used while playing winter ball in Mexico between the 1998 and 1999 seasons, he said Anderson told him “there was better, cleaner stuff I could use.”
Wearing a yellow polo shirt and blue jacket, Benard was the most relaxed witness thus far. He said Anderson gave him “the clear” and “the cream.”
“I believe he said it was undetectable steroids,” Benard said.
He stopped using them rather quickly, because he felt “as stiff as a 2-by-4.” Anderson then switched him to HGH, saying “try something else.”
In the morning, former Giants head athletic trainer Stan Conte testified Bonds added significant muscle mass before the 2000 season and he noticed acne on the slugger’s back. Conte said he suggested to general manager Brian Sabean and manager Dusty Baker at spring training in 2000 that Bonds’ trainers, Anderson and Harvey Shields, should be barred from the Giants training room and clubhouse.
Conte said Sabean told Conte to evict the trainers himself. Conte testified that Sabean remained silent when he asked the general manager to back him if Bonds complained. Conte testified that he understood from Sabean’s silence that he didn’t have the general manager’s backing and he dropped the subject.
At a luncheon near AT&T Park, Sabean said he wasn’t able to comment. Now manager of the Cincinnati Reds, Baker said at spring training “I don’t remember it really.”
Illston declined to take action on a request by Bonds’ lawyers to have her instruct the jury to disregard testimony Monday by former Bonds girlfriend Kimberly Bell, who conceded she exaggerated when she told a grand jury Bonds’ testicles shrank dramatically at the end of their nine-year relationship. Illston told Bonds’ lawyers to present her with written arguments.
Benard’s cross-examination is to start Wednesday. Asked by Illston whether he was willing to stay overnight, Benard responded: “I have to get out of here, talk to my wife and see what she says.”


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Former girlfriend Bell tells of Bonds’ steroid use

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Kimberly Bell, her voice cracking, looked out at the court room and talked about the final stretch of her nine-year relationship with Barry Bonds.

The greatest hitter of his era threatened “to cut my head off and leave me in a ditch,” she said. “More than once.”

She said Bonds told her “he would cut out my breast implants because he paid for them.”

As for the Arizona house he had helped pay for, “he told me he would burn it down.”

Bonds’ federal trial resumed Monday with nearly daylong testimony from his former mistress, who said the slugger attributed a 1999 elbow injury to steroids use. She also discussed how Bonds became verbally abusive and said that his physique changed, offering a lurid description of his shrinking testicles, back acne, scalp hair that fell out and chest hair that turned gray. Such mental and physical symptoms are associated with steroid use.

Prosecutors allege Bonds lied when he told a federal grand jury in 2003 that he never knowingly used performance-enhancing drugs.

Bell met Bonds in 1994 and testified that from 1999 to 2001, “he was just increasingly aggressive, irritable, agitated, very impatient.”

In testimony similar to that of former Bonds business partner Steve Hoskins last week, she said that in at least two different years at spring training, she saw Bonds and personal trainer Greg Anderson “go into a bedroom off the kitchen and close and lock the door.”

She said Anderson “would always have a little satchel with him.” She saw those scenes played out multiple times.

Prosecutors claim Anderson, who has been jailed for refusing to testify, repeatedly injected Bonds with performance-enhancing drugs.

Dressed in a gray pantsuit and white shirt, and with deep lines under her eyes, Bell answered 72 minutes of prosecution questions and was pressured during 4 hours, 15 minutes of questioning from the defense, who tried to portray her as a gold digger, a scorned former lover, a liar and the instigator of a mortgage fraud scheme.

Defense lawyer Cristina Arguedas brought up an interview Bell gave Playboy and a television appearance on Geraldo Rivera.

“You have taken many opportunities to disparage Barry Bonds … in the most vulgar ways possible?” Arguedas said in a question that was more a statement.

“Did you go on Howard Stern’s radio show?” Arguedas continued. “Does he do anything that isn’t vulgar?”

When Arguedas repeated: “Did you say vulgar things about Barry Bonds?” Bell answered: “Please refresh my memory.”

With that, Arguedas took a break to talk with Allen Ruby, Bonds’ lead lawyer. After a few moments, Arguedas told the court: “We’re going to decline that opportunity to go into the gutter. No more questions.”

At the start of the day, Giants equipment manager Mike Murphy testified that Bonds’ hat size increased from 7¼ to 7 3-8 in 2002. Murphy said that while Willie Mays and Willie McCovey needed larger hats, their increases did not happen until after they had retired as players.

Former Giants head athletic trainer Stan Conte is to testify Tuesday along with former AL MVP Jason Giambi, brother Jeremy Giambi and Randy Velarde, other players linked to the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative, which ran a steroids distribution ring.

While there were empty seats in the court room last week, the wood benches were filled for Bell’s testimony and about a dozen people waited on line outside for one of the approximately 50 seats available to the public.

Bell testified Bonds revealed his steroids use to her only once, between 1999 and 2000 at her apartment.

“He had an injury on his elbow and it was a big lump on his elbow,” she said. “It looked really awful, and he said it was because of steroids. … somehow it caused the muscle and the tendons to grow faster than the joint itself could handle.”

Bonds had left elbow surgery on April 20, 1999, and was on the disabled list until June 9. He holds the MLB records for home runs in a career (762) and a single season (73).

Under questioning from Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey D. Nedrow, Bell said Bonds told her “he didn’t shoot it up every day like body builders did.”

“That’s how they were getting ahead, that’s how they were achieving, by using steroids,” she quoted Bonds as saying. She went on to say this was the period “when Mark McGwire was breaking records.”

Dressed in a dark blue suit, light blue shirt and blue-and-silver patterned tie, Bonds alternately watched Bell on the stand, scribbled notes and whispered to one of his defense attorneys, Allen Ruby. A few times, Bonds put on reading glasses.

Bell met Bonds briefly outside Candlestick Park on July 3, 1994, when she was introduced by Kathy Hoskins, a former personal shopper for Bonds who also is expected to testify.

“He said: ‘Damn girl, you’re fine,'” said Bell, who occasionally dabbed at tears.

She attended a barbecue the next day at Bonds’ mother’s house, and Bonds arrived with Bobby Bonilla. From there, they shared a romantic relationship that continued even after Bonds married Liz Watson, who became his second wife in 1999.

In anticipation of defense attempts to discredit Bell, Nedrow asked about an interview and nude photograph shoot she did with Playboy that appeared in 2007.

“I was trying to put my life together,” she testified. “Maybe it wasn’t the best decision.”

Bell testified that Playboy agreed to pay her $100,000, but sent the money to her agent, David Hans Schmidt. Schmidt committed suicide in 2007 while under investigation for allegedly attempting to extort the actor Tom Cruise and Bell said she saw little of the Playboy payment — “about $17,000 or $18,000.”

While Ruby cross-examined the first four witnesses, Arguedas spent most of Monday trying to portray Bell as a jilted woman who had broken off her previous relationship on the day she was to be married.

When Bonds told her in 1998 that he was going to marry Watson, Bell said the player told her “you can come see me on road trips.” Bell testified that after Bonds married, he told her there were “girlfriend cities and wife cities” and that she wasn’t allowed to travel with him to New York, Montreal and Atlanta.

Bell said she went instead to San Diego, Houston and Miami. She recalled bitterly how Bonds told her to find her own way home from after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, when commercial airlines were shut down and Bonds was on the team charter.

“Barry abandoned me in Houston after 9-11,” she said.

Arguedas ran through a litany of financial benefits Bell received in “this position you had, as the girlfriend for road trips.” Bonds bought her several cars and paid the down payment for her house in North Scottsdale, Ariz. Arguedas repeatedly brought up forms Bell signed in which she said it would be her secondary home, trying to portray Bell as a liar.

Arguedas also quizzed Bell about an e-mail she sent to Bonds’ website in April 2004, almost a year after their breakup on May 23, 2003. Bell said she listed all the women she knew that Bonds was sleeping with: a model in New York, another woman in Las Vegas and “the stripper from Phoenix.”

“This is the guy who you described as having penile dysfunction,” Arguedas said. “That’s a lot of action.”

Bonds covered his mouth in an apparent attempt to suppress a grin.

“I don’t know what he was doing with them,” Bell responded. “I can only imagine.”



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