Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Barry Bonds Perjury Trial

As most of us know, Barry Bonds is in  court for allegedly lying to a Grand Jury.  His lawyer brought up the possibility that he might testify, but anybody who has seen hundreds of hours of TV law scenes know that there is as much chance of Bonds taking the stand as him batting lead-off for the Giants anytime in the future.  Mark Purdy, columnist of the SJ Mercury, has been following the trial and wrote a "what if" column on the questions that he would ask Bonds if he took the stand.

He asks some great questions that I, taking a more unbiased approach, might be able to answer for him.

Q1:  Why is Bonds going to trial instead of copping a plea?

Purdy wonders why put them through all that.  Well, as we all know, Bonds is a cheap guy.  So why go through all this trouble and drag your family and friends and former teammates through all this, and spend a few millions doing that, weird because he is so tight with his money?  Well, maybe they might consider that Bonds believes that he's innocent?  (And this question presumes that the Feds offered him this easy out, when from what I can gather from all the reports I've read, the Feds set him up to perjure so that they can take him to trial and "expose" everything.  From my reading, it appears that Novitsky is a legal equivalent of a stalker, looking to nail Bonds.)

Now, I have no idea whether Bonds is guilty of knowing or not, I only watch closely because I am a Giants fan and a Bonds fan (starting with Bobby), and my feelings won't change either way since we all know that he took it, because he said that his trainer gave him stuff that has clearly been established as designer steroids that BALCO was dealing.  There's no debate on that one, particularly since the defense is admitting usage but not knowledge.

But what if he wasn't lying?  Now, one well-known Bay Area-based announcer has went on the air and said that there is no way Bonds would have took the stuff from Anderson without knowing what it was.  And, of course, the books that came from the illegal release of grand jury documents (which I think should have been pursued for more punishment there), which naturally gave the one-sided view and assumption that Bonds is guilty.  But nobody considers the "what if" that Bonds was lied to by his friend?

For example, you go to your friends house and they make some food that is different for you but since it's your friend you try it out.  Seems pretty good so you eat a lot of it and always made the point of coming to eat that food when invited over and it is served (family secret!).  What if your friend thought that you were a little too straight laced and put some pot in there to loosen you up for his party?  Would you ever know it (assuming you are straight laced and never tried it before)?

Or your buddy has this great homemade lotion, family secret, that he uses after a hard exercise session that he swears by?  Unless it's ugly looking and/or stinks a lot, you most probably would use it, wouldn't you?

Now let's say it is one of your best  buddies from childhood, and he's your trainer, and he says he got some homeopathic remedies for his aches, some flaxseed oil and some rubbing balm, and you have made it very clear to him that you don't want to use anything like steroids.  Would you make him prove to you that there isn't anything wrong with the stuff?  Would you spend money testing the stuff?  (Remember, he's a skinflint)  And this is a guy you viewed as a brother from growing up together.

About the sports shoe representative who said that Bonds talked about taking steroids, how many people have NEVER said something outrageous that you would never in a million years do, but you say it as a lark with your good buddy, knowing he or she would understand.  Remember, Ken Griffey Jr. was there.

I don't know about you, but I've sometimes forgot that there are other people around and talk with about stuff I would normally only talk with one-on-one with that person, forgetting about the other people who are there or might be eavesdropping.  You just forget for a moment.  Others might say "I'm going to kill you!" or anything over the top that you would never do but in the heat of the moment, you say it.  Then there are those moments you might say, "did I just say that out loud?"

Talking about it does not mean you are going to do it, this is kind of like that movie, "Minority Report", where a covert government outfit stops crimes before they happen by having psychics interpret people's intentions.  Just because you say it or think it does not mean you are going to do it, Griffey as Bonds' long-time buddy would understand that, but the sports shoe rep wouldn't.

So the media can say what they want about Bonds based on their one-sided (that is, Bonds only presents one side of his persona to the media, a different one when he is relaxed and chillin' with his family and best buds) view of him, but who hasn't eaten or used something that you don't really have any idea what is in it, but your best buddy served it to you?

What if Bonds was betrayed by one of his best childhood buddies, Greg Anderson?  Not like it wasn't motivated, by all accounts, Bonds might consider him a good friend, but he treated him like crap, a flunky to go around and do stuff for him, because it is all about being the Barry.  And he didn't pay him very well either, from what I recall, if at all, now that I'm thinking about it.  And there is probably some level of jealousy and envy on the part of Anderson, and maybe he wanted to use his connection with Bonds for his own benefit.  Ultimately, this could be about someone fighting to the teeth to "prove" his innocence in the courts.

Q2:  Where is Greg Anderson? Why isn't he testifying?

Which leads us to answering this question.  Because the media assumes Bonds is guilty, and never considered the concept that perhaps he might be innocent, they never really considered the possibility that perhaps Anderson set Bonds up and betrayed him for money.  One of the oldest reasons for humankind, really, and covered in the media every day, but never considered because, well, he must be guilty, because the government says so.

I never see it mentioned much in the media, because, well, it messes up with their cut and dry story line, but Victor Conte said publicly that Bonds did not use the steroids he delivered (which admittedly contradicts what he originally told the government agents).  Now, from the evidence we have heard since, that is not true, but why would he say that unless it was true, at least from his knowledge?  I mean, he threw a lot of big athletic stars under the bus, like Marion Jones, why would he publicly say that he never supplied Bonds with his designer steroids?  One possible reason is that maybe he didn't knowingly supply it.

And why wouldn't Anderson testify?  Well, the story line in the media now is that Bonds cheated with Anderson's help, Bonds is the cheater.  Anderson is just the enabler, the supplier.

If the truth is that he lied to his childhood "best" bud, dosed him with drugs that Bonds had clearly stated he didn't want to use, then used Bonds' "usage" as an endorsement to sell the drugs to other players, Anderson becomes the villain in the media story line.  Weird motivation to rather be in jail, I'll admit, but maybe he would rather let Barry take the fall for this than be known as one of the biggest jerks in history, even to the point of going to jail.  Instead, right now, he looks like he's a great friend doing a huge favor for his friend, if anything, his public reputation is improved by going to jail.

Just because Barry Bonds' name is on scheduling calendars does not mean that he knew what Anderson was giving him.  Obviously, Anderson had to keep dosing him in order to sell the stuff to other athletes.  And probably warned them to never talk to Bonds about it, and that was easy to get them to comply, most people wouldn't bother Bonds period, let alone try to get him into a conversation regarding illegal PEDs.

And, again, I'm not saying this is what happened, I'm only stating that the media have never considered alternative possibilities because they have already tried and convicted him, because they have to stand up behind their other media buddies and support their conclusions.  And why not, that's the better story anyway.

Q3:  Why are you the only one to not know what you were taking?

Well, I think I explained it pretty well above, but I'll go over it here for a cleaner storyline.

Bonds is paying Anderson nothing, other than to enjoy the glory of being one of Bonds' entourage.  Anderson needs to pay the bills, probably is aware, as a body-builder, of suppliers of PEDs, so he figures he can capitalize on his buddy's star-power to sell PEDs to other athletes.  Most probably, athletes have already approached him, eager to learn Barry's secrets, heck, at that point, there were probably already whispers that he was using.

But he has to have Barry using it to convince other athletes that they are getting what Barry is getting, so he puts together a dosing calendar and explains to Bonds that it is just some home remedies that he uses and recommends Barry uses.  Barry, being a buddy, does use the stuff even if he don't quite believe in it, because, as much as he can be an ass sometimes, he does sometimes do things to support his buddy too.  And he supports his buddy by recommending his other buddies use it too, why not, it seems harmless enough, it is just flaxseed oil.  And if there were pills involved, I can see Anderson calling them vitamin supplements.

With Barry "using", it is just a matter of going back to the athletes who asked him for help before and selling him the same stuff.  Bonds was openly using the stuff in the locker room, so it was no secret, which made it that much easier for Anderson to sell the stuff.  And why not, these guys have all this money burning a hole in their pockets, why not pick up some of that money for himself, since Bonds isn't paying Anderson anything for his time and help?

And once the stuff hit the fan and Anderson is accused by the authorities, you stick by your buddy, sure, maybe he did something bad, but you stick by your buddies and support them, you don't abandon people from your 'hood.  Well, unless they are stealing from you, like Steve Hoskins apparently was.  And it is mentioned that Bonds still employed Anderson even afterward, but from what I've understood, there was no employment involved, Bonds did not pay him for anything, they were just two buddies hanging out.

And when we get right down to it, we don't know how deep a bond these two have.  Brothers have been known to do horrible things to each other but still in the end, they are brothers and they stick together, through thick and thin (then there are other brothers who never talk again for the rest of their lives).

And that's it, I don't know, the media don't know, yet the media feels free to interpret things the way they want.  What happened to objectivity, particularly since our courts are predicated on innocence until proven guilty?

Q4:  What was Bonds' Dr. Ting referring to in tape?

Well, that is just a fantasy question, who can answer what anyone means by a snippet of conversation?

And just because they had one conversation regarding the BALCO raid, which even the media has to admit was a big water cooler event, does not mean that they had the 50 conversations that Hoskins alleges, though it does, as Purdy notes, mean that they had more than one conversation regarding steroids as a general topic.  Two is a far cry from 50.

And frankly, if I had two or even a handful of inconsequential conversations with someone who is a hanger-on of one of my many professional athletes, I don't think I would remember them either.

But what was not made clear for me in the column is how this conversation would even fall into the category of "talking about steroids".   My understanding is that Hoskins claims that he had a lot of conversations with Dr. Ting regarding the usage and effects of steroids, and how it relates to Barry.  Talking about the BALCO raid does not necessarily mean that they were talking about the use of steroids, which would be what would be pertinent to the trial.  It means that they were talking about a steroids related event, which is a different matter in my eyes and logic.

I tried to find a complete transcript but the best I could locate was a blog by the San Jose Mercury to cover the trial.  There was also an article by the NY Daily News that said that there was no smoking gun.  I would presume the most damaging snippets would be reported, yet I'm not really seeing how the ones i've seen discussed are all that damaging to Bonds.

But of course Barry would be mentioned, that doesn't mean he knew he was using.  Since Ting helped Barry get blood work for Conte, he's clearly aware of Bonds and Conte's relationship, and I can see Dr. Ting saying "But Barry's gonna" have a aneurysm when he hears this.  And presuming innocence on the part of Dr. Ting, then I can see someone saying "They actually said that?" in an incredulous tone, because he doesn't think Barry uses.

Sidenote:  I find it funny that the prosecutors actually said that "the jury is entitled to know the truth, that the recording does exist."  I don't think that was in question, the question was whether there were the 50 conversations that they supposedly had, and one mostly indiscernible tape does not prove that, particularly when most of it appears to be a discussion of BALCO and not of Barry and steroids, as alleged.  And I don't see how finding this tape earlier would have done anything to help the prosecution since there was nothing incriminating on the tape.  Had there been, I would assume that the prosecution would have recalled Dr. Ting to the stand and ask him to explain himself further, that is the most logical thing to do, in my mind.

Q5:  Would You Do Perjury Again?

Well, that's a leading question, much like, "do you still beat your wife still?"  This question assumes Barry is guilty.  And maybe he is, but I've seen no media outlet willing to broach the idea that maybe he's innocent, that maybe he doth protest too much because he's innocent.

So yeah, it is a strain on his family, but if he really is innocent, they will understand that he wants to clear his name.

Unfortunately, we'll probably never learn the exact truth unless Greg Anderson decides that he needs money bad and writes a book about it, and frankly, I would wonder how much of that is truth anyway.  This is not like Perry Mason or Castle or Monk, there will be no big reveal, no big admission.

Still, I haven't convicted Bonds yet, as there is still reasonable doubt in my mind, as I've outlined above.  I just don't see it, but maybe you know something more about the case than I do, or see some faulty logic on my part.  I would happily be corrected by your comments below.


  1. To the public it looks like Bonds is losing this case. Perhaps from an image standpoint he is. However, from a legal standpoint it's game over. The Defense rested without even calling one witness. It all goes back to what Barry said, and when Barry said it. Specifically, if you look at the testimony he gave on December 4, 2003 nothing he said can be construed as lying. On that date (12-4-03), nothing yet had really been revealed about BALCO. In hindsight, we all now know much more. BUT (and this is a big BUT) can anyone say Bonds was lying on (12-4-03)let alone prove it beyond a reasonable doubt. Hence, Bonds walks (on all charges!)



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