SAN FRANCISCO (CBS 5 / KCBS) — As prosecutors moved closer Wednesday to finishing their case in the perjury trial of home-run champion Barry Bonds in federal court in San Francisco, they brought a pair of former Bay Area baseball players to the stand to testify they had knowingly received steroids from Bonds’ trainer.
Former Oakland Athletic Randy Velarde testified that he purchased a performance-enhancing drug from Barry Bonds’ personal trainer Greg Anderson throughout the 2002 season, the Texas native’s last after 16 years in the big leagues.
Velarde said the human growth hormone gave him more “endurance and strength” and that Anderson helped him inject the drug on approximately ten occassions.
Velarde, 48, was the fourth athlete to testify about his desire to work with Anderson because of his connection to Bonds, who experienced a surge in power after he started working with the trainer.
Anderson himself is in jail on contempt of court charges for refusing to testify at Bonds’ trial, which is in its second week.
Because Anderson has refused to testify, prosecutors have sought to use an array of other evidence to show that Bonds received performance-enhancing drugs from Anderson and knew what they were.
Velarde, who hit 100 home runs and batted .276 for four different teams, spent less than 15 minutes on the witness stand and testified that he never used the two designer steroids that prosecutors allege Bonds knowingly used after getting them from Anderson.
Velarde had followed former San Francisco Giant Marvin Benard to the witness stand.
Benard, 40, testified that Anderson supplied him with the designer steroids dubbed the “clear” and “cream.”
Bonds’ lawyer Alan Ruby cross-examined Benard and tried to imply Benard didn’t know that the substances Anderson gave him were actually steroids. Bonds told the grand jury Anderson told him they were “flaxseed oil” and arthritic balm.
Benard admitted he met with the prosecution when he arrived in San Francisco this week from his home in Washington state.
“At this meeting you had with these prosecutors, they told you they wanted you to say that Anderson told you he was giving you a steroid, an undetectable steroid,” Ruby said.
Benard said prosecutors reviewed his grand jury testimony with them.
“They showed me what I said earlier, when my memory was clearer,” Benard said.
“Isn’t it true, Mr. Benard, that you were asked many times at the grand jury what Anderson said to you about this new material he was giving you and you never said that he had called it an undetectable steroid?” Ruby asked.
“You got a better idea of what I said in there than I do,” Benard told him.
Prosecutors hoped the players’ testimony would undercut Bonds’ position that Anderson duped him into unknowingly using designer steroids.
Colorado Rockies first baseman Jason Giambi and his brother, former major leaguer Jeremy Giambi, testified Tuesday about their relationship with Anderson and gave similar accounts of drug dealings with him. They said that before the 2003 season Anderson supplied them with steroids designed to evade Major League Baseball’s plan to test players for steroids.
However, none of the four players who testified on either Tuesday and Wednesday had personal knowledge of any drug use by Bonds.
In addition, U.S. District Judge Susan Illston instructed jurors that they should not conclude just because other athletes may have knowingly used steroids from Anderson that Bonds automatically did too.
Three more ex-Giants teammates of Bonds were among the 50 potential witnesses on a list submitted to the court by prosecutors on March 7 – 1987 NL Rookie of the Year Benito Santiago, Armando Rios and Bobby Estalella – but Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Parrella told Illston on Wednesday that the government intended to call just three more witnesses.
His statement came as a surprise. Prosecutors said in the March 7 filing that Estalella would testify Bonds admitted to him that he used performance-enhancing drugs and “that they had several discussions regarding that topic.”
The government attorneys did not say in court why they pared down
Parrella said his final three witnesses would be Bonds’ physician Dr. Arthur Ting, Bonds’ former personal shopper Kathy Hoskins and drug testing expert Dr. Don Catlin. After that, the defense can start calling its witnesses.
Bonds, the major league record-holder for home runs in a career (762) and a season (73), has pleaded not guilty to four charges that he lied to a grand jury when he denied knowingly taking performance-enhancing drugs. He also pleaded not guilty to a charge of obstruction.
The jury also heard hours of testimony Wednesday that focused on urinalysis, with six witnesses taking the stand from a renowned University of California at Los Angeles lab.
The UCLA Olympic Analytical Laboratory is the world’s largest anti-doping agency and one of the leading research institutions in the filed of athletic doping.
It was also the lab that ultimately tested some Barry Bonds urine samples, which prosecutors allege were found to contain steroids.
KCBS’ Margie Shafer Reports:
Six current and former lab employees took the stand, explaining the testing process, including how urine is collected, stored and tested.
Also, two Internal Revenue Service special agents, who had the samples in their possession, explained how they executed the search warrant at Quest Diagnostics in Las Vegas, the location where the urine samples provided for MLB drug testing in 2003 were seized.
The MLB testing program was supposed to be anonymous. But during the investigation into the sales of performance-enhancing drugs by the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative, or BALCO, IRS agents seized the Quest samples and transferred them to the UCLA for further analysis.
The government’s presentation is likely to wrap up by early next week. Thursday’s court session will be cut short because Illston will leave to attend the swearing in of a judge late in the day. After that, the trial resumes Monday.
It is not known how long the defense side of the case will take. Bonds’ attorneys listed only a handful of witnesses in a pretrial filing, including two trainers; Bonds’ former attorney, Michael Rains; and a doctor who is an expert on the effects of anabolic steroids and human growth hormone.
But the defense lawyers reserved the right to add more witnesses if needed to challenge the prosecution’s case.
They said that revealing possible additional witnesses before trial would be unfair to Bonds because it could give prosecutors insight into the defense strategy and “provide untruthful government witnesses — if any — with advance warning” of evidence that might be used against them.
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