Barry Bonds' ex-mistress testifies he admitted to her that he took steroids
A former mistress of slugger Barry Bonds who said he'd admitted to her that he took steroids testified at a federal trial today that she was his road-trip girlfriend who was permitted to go to “girlfriend cities” but not “wife cities” while he played for the San Francisco Giants.
Under cross-examination by a defense lawyer, Kimberly Bell, who had a nine-year relationship with Bonds that continued through his second marriage, also acknowledged that she had tried unsuccessfully to sell a book about her relationship with Bonds.
Cristina C. Arguedas, Bonds’ lawyer, tried through her questions to suggest that Bell was a gold digger who was infuriated when Bonds broke up with her and who tried to profit from it. Bell was 24 when she met Bonds in 1994 as he was going through a divorce from his first wife. After their breakup, she posed nude for Playboy magazine.
Bell, 41, testified repeatedly that she was “hurt” when Bonds ended their relationship in May 2003 by demanding that she “disappear,” without explanation. When Arguedas tried to get her to admit that she was angry with Bonds, Bell refused.
Arguedas then read an email Bell had sent to Bonds’ website after the breakup.
In the email to Bonds, Bell said she understood why she was never allowed to travel with him to New York — he had another girlfriend there — and mentioned “the ugly whore in Vegas” and “the stripper in Phoenix,” apparent references to other women Bonds dated at the time.
Bell had testified earlier that steroids made Bonds sexually impotent.
“You testified he had penile dysfunction,” Arguedas said.
“He had some trouble,” Bell responded.
“This is a lot of action, isn’t it?” Arguedas asked.
“I don’t know what he was doing with them,” Bell said. “I can only imagine.”
Bell also acknowledged that she had signed home-loan papers that contained an inaccuracy, which the defense lawyer said could be punished as a federal crime, and had jilted a military soldier with too little money to buy a ring on their wedding day, eight months before she met Bonds.
Bell admitted that she had hired an attorney in an attempt to get Bonds to pay off the Arizona home he had purchased for her. But Bonds agreed to a settlement of only $20,000 and a confidentiality pledge, which Bell rejected and described as “peanuts” during a television interview. Bell testified that she eventually sold the Scottsdale home and made a $113,000 profit.
Bell wept on the stand during her direct testimony, testifying that after Bonds began taking steroids, he threatened to burn her home, cut out her breast implants and cut off her head. She said she was sometimes afraid of him.
During cross-examination, she often sparred with Arguedas and at times responded through clenched teeth.
Bonds faces charges that he lied to a grand jury in 2003 when he testified that he never knowingly used steroids. A jury of eight women and four men were impaneled last Monday to hear the case.
The presence of Bell, who has long, dark wavy hair and wore a gray pantsuit and white shirt, attracted the biggest crowd yet to Bonds’ trial. The courtroom was filled at least 20 minutes before trial started, and several dozen spectators showed up in an overflow room to watch the testimony on a live video and audio feed.
Bonds listened attentively to Bell’s testimony, chuckling once when she described their first meeting. At one point, he looked at her and she looked away. She also occasionally glanced at him.
Bonds, who holds the record for most career home runs, has not played baseball since 2007, when the federal government indicted him for lying during a probe of steroid distribution.
-- Maura Dolan
Photo: Barry Bonds on March 1, 2011, arriving at a federal courthouse in San Francisco. Credit: Jeff Chiu / Associated Press. Kimberly Bell on March 17, 2006, leaving federal court in San Francisco. Credit: Frederic Larson / Associated Press