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Secret recording of Barry Bonds' surgeon not expected to offer critical evidence in perjury trial, judge says

April 4, 2011 |  5:31 pm

The judge in the Barry Bonds perjury trial said Monday her review of a secret recording of Bonds' orthopedic surgeon, who last week denied having discussed the player's use of steroids, contained statements that were "almost entirely inadmissible or irrelevant." 

Prosecutors in the federal case stunned the court Monday by revealing the discovery of the long-missing secret recording of Dr. Arthur Ting, Bonds’ surgeon.

Steve Hoskins, a key prosecution witness, testified that he secretly taped Ting in September 2003, after federal agents raided a Bay Area laboratory that provided professional athletes with illegal performance drugs.

Hoskins had testified that he and Ting discussed Bonds’ use of steroids multiple times. But Ting, who took the stand Thursday, denied such conversations.

Prosecutors indicated they wanted to admit the tape — which they said Hoskins discovered Sunday, nearly eight years after it was made — to show that Hoskins did have conversations with Ting about steroids. That could shore up Hoskins’ credibility with the jury.

But  U.S. District Judge Susan Illston said she did not believe the tape would offer critical evidence in the case. She said Hoskins seemed to be doing most of the talking on the tape.

“I can hear very little of what Dr. Ting says,” the judge said.

Illston is expected to rule on the tape's admissibility once she has a complete transcript. Bonds' trial, now in its third week, was recessed yesterday because a juror was ill. Testimony is expected to resume tomorrow.

-- Maura Dolan in San Francisco