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Bonds told the truth; he never knowingly used anabolic steroids, his attorney says [Updated]

March 22, 2011 | 12:04 pm

An attorney for home run king Barry Bonds told a federal jury today that Barry Bonds told the truth and “did his best” when he told a grand jury that he never knowingly used anabolic steroids.

Allen Ruby, the lead lawyer for Bonds, also told the jury that three key prosecution witnesses had reasons to dislike Bonds. Ruby argued that they had a falling out with Bonds and lost money when Bonds severed  relationships with them.

Following Ruby’s statements,  U.S. District Court Judge Susan Illston sent the jury out of the courtroom and  ordered Greg Anderson, Bonds’ former trainer, to federal prison for refusing to testify. The government has charged that Anderson provided Bonds with illegal steroids and injected him with human growth hormones.

 Illston said she hoped Anderson would change his mind and would keep him confined for contempt “until such time you will testify.” A lawyer for Anderson said he would appeal the decision to a federal appeals court.

During his opening statements, Ruby indicated that he would ask jurors to closely examine the exact words that Bonds used during his 2003 grand jury testimony.

“This is an alleged crime which took place in this building in a grand jury room with a stenographer who took down every word—thankfully,”  Ruby said.

He said Bonds’ testimony did not conflict with laboratory tests of a 2003 Bonds urine sample taken by Major League Baseball and found to have contained banned drugs.

“Words are important,”  Ruby said.   

The defense attorney tried to discredit Kimberly Bell, Bonds’  former mistress and an anticipated  prosecution witness. Ruby said Bell shopped a tell-all book about him and spoke to the media about him.

Steve Hoskins, Bonds' former business manager who also is expected to testify, was being investigated for counterfeiting Bonds’ signature when  the government sought his assistance againt Bonds, Ruby said. The defense lawyer said Bonds’ had reported illegal activity by Hoskins to the FBI.

And Kathy Hoskins, Steve’s sister who was Bonds’ personal shopper, also had a falling out with the baseball player, Ruby said.  Kathy Hoskins is expected to testify she saw Anderson inject Bonds in the navel.

Ruby said the three fed information to the news media for "poisonous" articles about the now retired baseball player.

[Updated, 12:15 p.m.: Ruby said that Bonds identified before the grand jury two substances he obtained from Anderson, which prosecutors say were steroids. Bonds "testifed at the time he didn't know" what the substances were, Ruby said.

One of the drugs, designed to be undetectable, was not known to most people, the defense attorney said. "Nobody knew what it was," he said.

The 2003 grand jury was called to investigate a Bay Area laboratory that sold steroids and performance-enhancing drugs to athletes.

Anderson, who pleaded guilty to selling steroids, already has served nearly two years in prison, most of it for refusing to testify against Bonds, a childhood friend.

Ruby also tried to neutralize any negative impressions jurors might have of Bonds. He said the Hoskins siblings tried to "create a caricature of Barry Bonds" that was "bad, mean."

"And Barry is not a caricature," Ruby said. "He is a man. And whether the evidence persuades you he is an admirable man or not, or something in between, we can all agree it has nothing to do with the charges that the United States has brought against him."]


Barry Bonds lied when he testified he never used steroids, prosecutor say

--Maura Dolan in San Francisco

Photo: Allen Ruby, lead attorney for Barry Bonds, speaks to the media outside of federal court following the first day of Bonds' perjury and obstruction trial in San Francisco. Credit: Monica M. Davey / EPA