Jury deliberating charges against Bonds

Jury deliberating charges against Bonds

Jury deliberating charges against Bonds
SAN FRANCISCO -- Jurors deciding the case of USA vs. Barry Lamar Bonds entered into deliberations Friday morning at the Phillip Burton Federal Building, where for three weeks the eight women and four men heard testimony from 25 witnesses and arguments from both sides.

The jurors, who began deliberations at 8:30 a.m. PT, met until 3:30 p.m., and will return Monday to continue discussing the fate of Bonds, one of the most accomplished players in baseball history being charged with giving false testimony and obstructing justice.

Monday's proceedings will begin with a read-back of prosecution witness Kathy Hoskins' testimony, which included her eyewitness account of having seen trainer Greg Anderson inject Bonds in the abdomen, where human growth hormone is typically administered.

The jurors made the request via a note to Judge Susan Illston to hear or read Hoskins' testimony. They were told in their third separate appearance in the courtroom of the day that they could have it read back, but as they were instructed earlier in the trial, could not have written transcripts to read.

Earlier in the day, they returned to Illston's courtroom to again hear the secret recording prosecution witness Steve Hoskins, Kathy's brother, made of a conversation with Anderson. They returned a second time to be informed of a factual discrepancy in the prosecution's closing argument.

Bonds, the Major Leagues' all-time leader in home runs and a seven-time Most Valuable Player, is standing trial on three counts of making false statements and one count of obstruction of justice. The charges are based on his Dec. 4, 2003, testimony before the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (BALCO) grand jury in which he denied knowingly using performance-enhancing drugs. One of the charges of making false statements was dropped prior to closing arguments.

Earlier Friday, Anderson -- Bonds' childhood friend who was at the center of the BALCO investigation -- was released from prison in nearby Dublin. Anderson has refused to testify at any point in the Bonds case, and has spent more than a year in prison for contempt of court. When the trial began, the government again attempted to call Anderson, but he appeared in court and Illston promptly sent him back to prison. Anderson earlier pleaded guilty in the BALCO case, serving three months in prison and three months of home confinement for distributing steroids.

About two hours into their deliberations Friday, the jurors asked for a transcript of the secret recording Hoskins, Bonds' former childhood friend and business manager, made of a conversation with Anderson.

Since the transcript itself was not in evidence, the jury was called to the courtroom, where that recording and two other segments of Hoskins-Anderson discussions in the Giants' clubhouse in 2003 were played in open court. The jurors had the transcript of two of the three portions to read at the time, just as they had during the trial.

Before the jurors arrived, defense attorney Allen Ruby strenuously objected to the use of the transcript because it would be "an implied endorsement of its credibility," but Illston allowed the transcripts to be used just as they were at the trial. Since they were not in evidence, the jury handed back the printed transcripts before returning to the deliberation room behind Courtroom 10.

The prosecution contends the recording establishes that Anderson injected Bonds, whereas Bonds testified to the grand jury that no one other than his physicians ever injected him. The defense contends the recording was illegal and enhanced, and that Anderson didn't directly say he injected Bonds.

In another development Friday, the defense filed a motion with Illston to recall the jury for amended instructions, charging that Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Parrella "egregiously misrepresented the evidence" in part of his final closing argument. Parrella, the record shows, suggested that Bonds had personal conditioning trainer Harvey Shields rub flaxseed oil on his legs and therefore knew the designer steroid THG (known as "the clear") was not flaxseed oil, as he claimed in his grand-jury testimony. Parrella cited former Giants and current Dodgers trainer Stan Conte as seeing that take place.

The testimony showed in actuality that Conte had seen Shields rub cream on Bonds' legs, but knew nothing about flaxseed oil. The other main performance-enhancing substance in question based on Bonds' testimony before the grand jury is testosterone cream (or "the cream"), which Bonds testified he believed to be arthritis cream.

Illston ruled that the jury should be advised of the discrepancy between what Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Nedrow earlier in closing arguments stated factually about Conte's testimony about flaxseed oil and what Parrella said. So she called in the jury and told them there was that discrepancy.

Not a half-hour later, Illston received a note from the jury requesting the Hoskins testimony. Bonds had left the building and had to be called back, arriving in the courtroom at approximately 3:35 p.m. Judge Illston and the jury agreed that the read-back would take place first thing Monday morning.

These two particular requests for a review of evidence would appear to center on Count Two, in which Bonds is charged with lying for saying no one other than his personal physician ever had injected him with a syringe.

The case was estimated to run three to four weeks, and Friday wrapped up the third week of the proceedings, which previously had been conducted Monday through Thursday.

If found guilty on any charge, Bonds faces a maximum of 10 years in prison, although federal sentencing guidelines suggest 15-20 months, and earlier convictions of false testimony in the BALCO case had sentences of house arrest.

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