Childhood friend Hoskins testifies against Bonds

Childhood friend Hoskins testifies against Bonds

Childhood friend Hoskins testifies against Bonds
SAN FRANCISCO -- Jurors in the federal perjury trial of Barry Bonds heard portions of a secret recording made by Steve Hoskins as part of testimony from Bonds' childhood friend and former business manager as the prosecution continued to make its case on the third day of the trial.

One day after another childhood friend of Bonds, trainer Greg Anderson, was sent to prison for continuing to refuse to testify, Hoskins was on the stand for most of Wednesday's session and will return there for further cross-examination from the defense when Thursday's proceedings begin.

Bonds, baseball's all-time home run leader, is charged with four counts of perjury and one count of obstruction of justice in relation to his testimony to the BALCO grand jury in December 2003, in which he denied knowingly using performance-enhancing substances.

Hoskins testified Wednesday that he first became aware of Bonds' use of performance-enhancing drugs in 1999, and he became increasingly concerned about his use, saying "it was getting out of hand."

Hoskins said he recorded a conversation between himself and Anderson in the Giants' clubhouse sometime early in the 2003 regular season in hopes of playing it for Bobby Bonds, Barry's father, so the elder Bonds might persuade the younger Bonds to quit using performance-enhancing drugs. Bobby Bonds, a former All-Star outfielder himself, died in August 2003, and Hoskins never played the digital recording for him.

Following final legal wrangling over what would be admissible, the allowed portions of the muffled, expletive-laced recording depicted a conversation between the two in which a voice identified as Anderson's describes moving injections to different parts of the body to avoid infection.

Hoskins: "Is that why Barry didn't just shoot it into his butt all the time?"

Anderson: "I never just go there. I move it all over the place."

In direct examination by Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Parrella, Hoskins also testified to having seen Anderson carrying a syringe out of a bedroom at a Spring Training residence in Arizona that Anderson and Bonds had entered together. Hoskins said he approached Dr. Arthur Ting, then one of the Giants' physicians, in 1999 to ask about the steroid Winstrol on Bonds' behalf after Bonds had undergone elbow surgery.

"[Bonds] just wanted to find out what a specific steroid was and wanted me to find out what the effects were," Hoskins testified, adding that he did meet with Dr. Ting and received information to pass along to Bonds.

Hoskins grew up as friends with Bonds, but said the two drifted apart until reconnecting in 1992, just before Bonds left the Pirates and signed as a free agent with the Giants. Hoskins, son of deceased former 49ers defensive back Bob Hoskins, soon thereafter began running errands and handling baseball equipment for Bonds and became more involved in the player's business affairs, mainly in regards to memorabilia, in the following years.

Hoskins is an artist, and part of the business the two worked on together was selling autographed lithographs painted by Hoskins. Among the issues Hoskins discussed were cash payments he made to former Bonds girlfriends Kimberly Bell and Piret Aava, a model in New York.

The defense worked much of the afternoon on portraying the Bonds-Hoskins relationship as a broken one in 2003, and attempting to cast doubt on whether sharing the recording of Anderson with Bobby Bonds was in fact Hoskins' motivation.

"You didn't do this to play for Bobby, isn't that the truth?" defense attorney Allen Ruby asked, with Hoskins replying that wasn't true.

Ruby then entered into evidence a letter dated March 26, 2003, from Bonds to Hoskins, essentially ending their business relationship, in part to establish that the secret recording took place after Hoskins and Bonds had parted ways. The exact date of the recording has not been made clear.

Ruby also presented evidence during cross-examination that Hoskins had made business agreements without Bonds' approval, and that eventually Bonds contacted the FBI to investigate Hoskins for fraudulent activities -- a case that was dropped after being moved to the Seattle office of the U.S. Attorney because of a conflict of interest with the BALCO and Bonds investigations.

Ruby quizzed Hoskins about where the digital recorder was after the time of the 2003 secret recording, and Hoskins said he gave it to his attorney sometime in 2003. Ultimately, Ruby asked: "Why didn't you just erase it?" and suggested it was the action of a bitter ex-friend.

"I didn't do anything with it at that time. I just stashed it away. ... Bobby was sick, no one was thinking about who's bitter about what," Hoskins said.

At every turn, Hoskins maintained that he was not trying to hurt Bonds with his actions, but to help him.

"Barry is a very good friend, a very good person," Hoskins said. "He's also the best baseball player that's ever going to be. That's why in 1999-2000, I was the one trying to stop him from taking steroids because it was bad for him."

John Schlegel is a national reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.