Lawyers for Barry Bonds asked a federal judge in San Francisco today to block prosecution witnesses from testifying at his perjury trial next month that the home-run champion was allegedly “abusive and disrespectful” to others while purportedly on steroids.
The defense said the proposed testimony from two former employees and a former girlfriend, Kimberly Bell, would be “replete with personal invective, rumor and speculation” and wouldn’t scientifically prove Bonds took steroids.
Bonds, 46, is due to go on trial in the court of U.S. District Judge Susan Illston on March 21 on charges of lying to a grand jury in 2003 when he said he never knowingly received steroids or received an injection from his trainer, Greg Anderson.
Prosecutors want to show that anger, or “roid rage,” is a side effect of steroids, and that the former San Francisco Giants slugger exhibited that trait.
Bonds’ request to bar testimony about his alleged anger was one of a series of final pretrial motions filed today in which the prosecution and defense each sought to chip away at the other side’s case.
Illston will hold a hearing on the motions on March 1.
Defense attorneys also asked Illston to preclude Bell from testifying about alleged changes in Bonds’ body beginning in 2000, saying that such testimony would be unscientific and likely to lead to a “distracting circus within a trial.”
Prosecutors, meanwhile, asked Illston to allow them to present testimony that Bonds allegedly had a motive to lie to the grand jury to protect the home-run records he was creating at the time.
“He broke the single-season record in 2001, just two years prior to his grand jury testimony,” prosecutors wrote.
“His incentive to provide false testimony was thus significant, as he knew that if his steroid abuse became public, the legitimacy of his athletic accomplishments would be tainted, and his earnings put in jeopardy.”
In addition to setting the Major League Baseball single-season record with 73 home runs in 2001, Bonds reached the career record in his last season for the Giants in 2007 with a total of 762.
Prosecutors also asked Illston to prohibit the defense from arguing that Bonds was singled out for prosecution.
In another defense motion today, Bonds’ attorneys renewed their request for exclusion of testimony by other baseball players who allegedly received steroids from Anderson.
Anderson has refused to testify against Bonds, and prosecutors say the testimony by other players would help to prove their claim that Bonds knew he was receiving the drug from his trainer.
Defense lawyers argued such evidence is irrelevant.
“There is no legal basis for the admission of evidence on a theory that a defendant must have acted in a particular manner because some other members of his profession so acted,” they wrote.
Bonds faces a total of four counts of making false statements and one count of obstructing justice in his Dec. 4, 2003, grand jury testimony.
The panel was investigating the illegal distribution of performance-enhancing drugs by the Burlingame-based Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative, or BALCO.
Julia Cheever, Bay City News