Giambis, Benard, Conte testify at Bonds trial

Giambis, Benard, Conte testify at Bonds trial

Giambis, Benard, Conte testify at Bonds trial
SAN FRANCISCO -- Rockies first baseman Jason Giambi and former Major Leaguers Jeremy Giambi and Marvin Benard took the stand at the federal perjury trial of Barry Bonds on Tuesday, detailing how they received and used performance-enhancing drugs provided by trainer Greg Anderson.

Testimony from the players, which included admissions of previous steroid use by all three, and an appearance on the stand by former Giants and current Dodgers head trainer Stan Conte, marked the first baseball players or officials to take the stand in the trial.

Bonds is standing trial on four counts of perjury and one count of obstruction of justice, charges based on his testimony before the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (BALCO) grand jury in which he denied knowingly using performance-enhancing drugs. Anderson, who was Bonds' personal trainer, is currently in prison for refusing to testify in the case.

At approximately 1:42 p.m. PT, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Nedrow said: "The United States calls Jason Giambi." With that, the trial took a turn to include testimony from Major League players.

Giambi, wearing a charcoal-gray suit and a striped tie, took questions from Nedrow about his dealings with Anderson and how they came to know each other -- first meeting on a Major League All-Star tour of Japan at the end of 2002, when Anderson had joined Bonds for the trip.

Giambi, the 2000 American League Most Valuable Player with the A's who spent 2002-2008 with the Yankees before joining the Rockies, testified on the stand that an initial blood test administered in late 2002 by (BALCO) tested positive for deca-durabolin, a steroid. Major League Baseball's drug-testing program was to begin in Spring Training 2003, and "deca," as it was called, was a well-known steroid at the time.

"[Anderson] told me that would trip the Major League Baseball test and I should look into taking something else," Giambi said.

Soon, Giambi had sent to his Henderson, Nev., home by Anderson a package containing testosterone and a dosing calendar, followed a month later with a package containing what he came to know as "the clear" and "the cream" -- established now as the synthetic steroid THG and a testosterone-based cream used to mask detection. Giambi testified he used the substances through much of 2003 before stopping it when he suffered a knee injury.

Jeremy Giambi, who played for the Royals, A's, Phillies and Red Sox from 1998-2003, testified that, after having Anderson recommended by his brother, he went through much the same process, and in testified that, after being directed to Anderson by his brother, he went through much the same process, and in cross-examination it was revealed that his initial test with BALCO showed the presence of Nandrolone, a steroid. Jeremy Giambi testified to receiving "the clear" and "the cream" from Anderson, whom he'd talked to on the telephone.

"I believe on the phone that it was identified as an alternative or undetectable steroid," Jeremy Giambi testified, adding that he stopped its use after a few weeks because it was ineffective.

When it was Benard's turn on the stand, he acknowledged having begun taking "deca" while playing winter ball in Mexico and used it two weeks before Spring Training began in 1998. Benard, who played for the Giants in parts of nine seasons from 1995-2003, subsequently met Anderson, who then provided Benard with "deca," exchanging the veterinary-grade steroid Benard had acquired in Mexico for "clean" steroids.

"He just said there was better, cleaner stuff I could use than that, and he could help me out with it," Benard said.

Benard said that a few years later, Anderson provided him with "the clear" and "the cream," as well as human growth hormone. He testified "the clear" and "the cream" made him feel stiff, so he stopped using them.

Before Jason Giambi's testimony, Judge Susan Illston issued an instruction to the jury, agreed to by the prosecution and defense, that in part said, "This testimony is not being introduced as proof that because other professional athletes possessed or used performance-enhancing drugs, Mr. Bonds probably did so as well."

The players' testimony followed the appearance of two men involved with the collection of urine samples from the 2003 "survey" testing conducted by Major League Baseball. Dr. Barry Sample of Quest Diagnostics and technician Larry Kennedy, a subcontractor for Comprehensive Drug Testing, testified as to the process and chain of command of those samples, specifically the ones provided by Bonds.

They were followed by Conte, who worked for the Giants from 1993 until 2006, serving as head athletic trainer from 2000 onward. Key to Conte's testimony were observations he made of Bonds' body changing, and how their working relationship deteriorated in later years. Conte objected to Bonds' use of personal trainers Anderson and Harvey Shields, and the two sparred during a difficult 2005 rehabilitation process from knee surgery, eventually outsourcing Bonds' rehab to someone outside the organization.

On direct examination by Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Parrella, Conte testified he objected to the presence of Anderson and Shields as soon as they arrived to work alongside Bonds in Spring Training 2000. Conte said he expressed his displeasure with them to Giants general manager Brian Sabean and then-manager Dusty Baker. He didn't feel they would back him, so he dropped the idea of removing them from the clubhouse.

Conte also said that around 2000 he noticed that Bonds had become "more muscular" and had developed back acne, a sign of steroid use -- "significant enough for me to notice it." He also detailed a conversation he had with Bonds in October 2003, after the raids on BALCO and Anderson's residence and before the grand-jury proceedings in which both were subpoenaed to testify. Bonds did, but Conte did not.

"[Bonds] said it was unfair what the government was doing to Greg Anderson, that they'd raided his house and that Barry trusted Greg Anderson and that he didn't know anything about the steroids and that Greg was only selling steroids to help his kid," Conte said, further testifying that he told Bonds they probably shouldn't be having the conversation since both were subpoenaed, although Bonds continued.

The cross-examination of Benard will continue Wednesday morning, as the trial continues. Former players Armando Rios and Randy Velarde also have been presented as potential witnesses to be called this week.

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