Barry Bonds' ex-business partner admits secretly recording conversation with ballplayer's trainer
A key prosecution witness in the federal trial of Barry Bonds admitted Wednesday that he had secretly recorded a conversation about banned drugs with Bonds’ trainer at the time Bonds was ending a lucrative business with him.
The admission by Steve Hoskins, who knew Bonds from childhood and later had a memorabilia business with him, cast strong doubt on his earlier testimony that he was acting out of concern for Bonds’ health.
Hoskins also admitted making other secret recordings of Bonds’ associates, including Dr. Arthur Ting, Bonds’ personal physician. Hoskins had testified that Ting gave him information about the side effects of steroids after Bonds asked him to research the subject in 1999.
“The truth is, is it not, that you recorded Dr. Ting to gather information you could use to extort Barry, isn’t that true?” asked Allen Ruby, Bonds’ lead defense attorney.
“No,” replied Hoskins.
Bonds is on trial for lying to a federal grand jury in 2003 when he testified that he had never knowingly used steroids.
Hoskins, whose family was friends with Bonds' family when they were young, went into a sports memorabilia business with Bonds that ended badly. Bonds accused Hoskins of forging his signature on contracts and lodged complaints with the FBI.
In March 2003, Bonds had Hoskins sign an agreement saying he was no longer an agent for Bonds, nor did he have the authority to sign Bonds’ name or represent him in any way.
Hoskins, in turn, became a federal witness against Bonds and has cooperated with prosecutors trying to convict Bonds of obstruction of justice and making false statements.
Under questioning by prosecutors, Hoskins testified that Bonds had complained of soreness from being injected with steroids in 2000. Hoskins also said he saw Bonds and Greg Anderson, Bonds’ former personal trainer, enter a bedroom during spring training that year and saw Anderson emerge with a needle in his hand.
During that testimony, Hoskins insisted that he was worried about the slugger and wanted Bonds’ father to intervene.
Hoskins said he decided to record Anderson in March 2003 to prove to Bonds’ father that his son was using steroids. Hoskins said he never gave the recording to the elder Bonds because he became ill and died that year.
Ruby pointed out that in the recorded conversation, Hoskins and Anderson alluded to events that had occurred after Bonds ended their business relationship.
The defense attorney also elicited testimony that indicated Bonds’ prosecutors were involved in what was supposed to have been an entirely separate probe of Hoskins’ allegedly fraudulent business practices. Hoskins was never charged in that case.
At one point, Ruby read a transcript of grand jury testimony that quoted Hoskins as saying federal agents never investigated Bonds’ complaints. Hoskins testified that the stenographer had misquoted him.
-- Maura Dolan in San Francisco