March 24, 2011 in Sports

Friend implies Bonds not unaware of steroid use

Ronald Blum Associated Press
 

Hoskins
(Full-size photo)

SAN FRANCISCO – Barry Bonds looked at the witness stand with a blank expression as a childhood friend and former business partner described how baseball’s biggest star walked into the master bedroom at his spring training home along with trainer Greg Anderson, who had a syringe with a needle.

A few minutes later, Bonds and Anderson walked out.

Steve Hoskins testified in federal court Wednesday that he never saw Anderson inject Bonds.

The question for the jury will be whether Hoskins’ description, which the defense began to challenge later in the day, is a path toward convicting Bonds of lying when he told a grand jury seven years ago he never knowingly took steroids.

Speaking softly and fidgeting a bit in the witness chair, Hoskins gave the first dramatic testimony in the trial of the home-run king, who faces four counts of making false statements and one count of obstruction.

Hoskins said he witnessed scenes of Bonds and a needle-bearing Anderson entering a bedroom once or twice each spring training for three straight years starting in 2000.

A partner with Bonds in a memorabilia business, Hoskins said the home-run hitter asked him to inquire about the effects of the steroid Winstrol in 1999, at around the time Bonds was having left elbow surgery April 20. Hoskins said he planned to go to Bobby Bonds, the defendant’s father and a former major league player himself, to express his suspicions.

Both prosecutors and the defense played for the jury portions of a recording Hoskins secretly made of a conversation that took place in front of Bonds’ locker in 2003. Hoskins said he put an Olympus digital recorder in a pocket and recorded Anderson “to show Bobby actually what really was going on.”

Hoskins never played the conversation for Bobby Bonds, who by 2003 was ill with cancer and died that August.

At one point, Anderson is heard discussing what the government alleges are designer steroids he supplied to Bonds. “But the whole thing is … everything that I’ve been doing at this point, it’s all undetectable,” he said.

Defense lawyer Allen Ruby, in the first 21/2 hours of a cross-examination that is to continue today, tried to build an argument that Hoskins came forward against Bonds only after the player terminated their joint business on March 27, 2003.

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