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Friday, April 01, 2011
New Sports Illustrated Column on Barry Bonds Trial: Has Bonds Already Won?

With the prosecution's case-in-chief nearly over, I have a new column for SI -- in it, I take a look at where things stand in the Bonds trial and what to expect going forward. Bonds should feel good about 4 of the 5 counts, but he's still very vulnerable to a conviction on Count Two. Here are excerpts from the column:

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What worked for the prosecution?

1. Kathy Hoskins's believable recollection will help to prove Count Two

Kathy Hoskins, the former personal shopper of Bonds and the sister of Steve Hoskins, carefully explained how she watched Anderson inject Bonds in the navel during the 2002 season. She came across as believable, normal and someone with whom jurors could likely identify. Her memory also appeared strong, especially when she recalled specific comments purportedly made by Bonds. While prosecutors tried to link her with Steve Hoskins, whose business relationship with Bonds soured and who struggled on the stand earlier in the week, Kathy Hoskins emerged from cross examination as credible and without apparent ill-motive.

If the jury believes Kathy Hoskins with absolute certainty, it would be poised to find Bonds guilty on Count Two of the government's indictment. As explained in our previous coverage, Count Two simply requires prosecutors to prove that Bonds was injected by Anderson and that Bonds knowingly lied in 2003 when stating, under oath, that no such injection ever took place.

Then again, prosecutors were unable to corroborate Kathy Hoskins's testimony with other witnesses who could credibly claim they too saw Bonds injected by Anderson. Along those lines, some on the jury may be uncomfortable with finding Bonds guilty based on the testimony of just one witness, albeit a very believable one. They might also reason that Bonds could have simply -- to borrow a favorite word of fellow alleged perjurer Roger Clemens -- "misremembered" everything that Anderson did to him, including injections. Given that perjury requires that the defendant knowingly lied, as opposed to merely being mistaken or confused, any possibility of doubt would work to Bonds's defense.

* * *

What worked for the defense?

1. Steve Hoskins and Dr. Arthur Ting failed as witnesses for the prosecution

Though he initially seemed to possess intimate knowledge of Bonds' personal and professional life and though he portrayed Bonds as keenly interested in steroids, Steve Hoskins proved highly vulnerable under cross-examination, particularly in regards to his credibility and motivations. His rationale for secretly taping a conversation with Anderson drew intense fire, as Hoskins made the recording after Bonds had largely terminated his business relationship with him. Jurors will likely have doubts about relying on comments by Steve Hoskins to convict Bonds.

Ting proved to be the worst witness for the government, by far. For at least three reasons, Ting seemed more like a witness for the defense than for the prosecution: he emphasized that he never spoke with Bonds about steroids; he highlighted non-steroid explanations for possible changes in Bonds' body; and he adamantly denied testimony by fellow prosecution witness Steve Hoskins, who had claimed that he and Ting discussed steroids. By the end of his testimony, Ting probably left jurors with serious doubts about the government's case against Bonds and about prosecutors' wisdom in calling him to the stand.

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What to expect next week?

The prosecution is nearly finished and the defense will begin its case-in-chief on Monday. Expect three major defense strategies:

1. Refute Kathy Hoskins's assertion that Anderson injected Bonds

While the government struggled to show that Bonds knowingly lied under oath about steroids, it scored a victory in Kathy Hoskins's persuasive testimony. Keep in mind, if Bonds is convicted only on Count Two, he will still be a convicted felon and still face prison time.

Expect defense attorneys to portray Kathy Hoskins as linked more closely to her brother, Steve, than she led the court to believe. The stronger she is linked to her less credible brother, the more doubt the jury may have of her testimony. While the defense has to be careful to not so fervently slander Kathy Hoskins that it backfires -- and that she is called again to the stand -- it has to address her damming testimony.

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To read the rest, click here.


First let me state that I am not a lawyer but mearly a layman. Therefore the following questions answer is likely obvious to a lawyer but it is not to me.

It is my understanding that perjury requires that three elements be proven beyond reasonable doubt. 1) The statement made is false. 2) The defendent knew it was false when he made it. 3) The statement is material to the GJ investigation. It is this final requirement (materiality) that leads me to my question.

If the substance injected is unknown (can not be proven to be an illegal PED) then how is the injection material?

Anonymous Mark Raines -- 4/02/2011 3:08 AM  

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