Photo: andertho via flickr
Yesterday’s testimony in the Barry Bonds perjury trial was an emotional slugfest, as Bonds’ former mistress testified about their emotional nine-year affair.Kimberly Bell was called to testify about Bonds’ angry outbursts, violent threats, shady finances, bulging body, and shrinking testicles — all offered up by prosecutors as evidence of his alleged steroid use. Bell said Bonds threatened her life and was often emotional abusive toward her.
defence attorneys tried to attack her credibility, painting Bell as a gold-digger who concocted her stories as revenge for Bonds ending their relationship.
It was an ugly choice for the jury to consider, but the truth is that most of it is irrelevant to the larger issue of Bonds’ honesty before the grand jury. The only other witness to testify yesterday was a Giants equipment manager who said that Bonds’ hat size grew during his 15 years in San Francisco.
But just because Bonds exhibited the symptoms of steroid abuse, doesn’t mean he was using them. The same equipment manager said that Giants sluggers Willie Mays and Willie McCovey also needed bigger hats when they got older. (Anyone can gain weight without steroids or even working out.) And even if he was using them, it doesn’t automatically mean he perjured himself in front of a grand jury.
In fact, the only relevant piece of testimony was Bell’s claim that in 1999, Bonds told her that his elbow injury was the result of steroid use. Everything else was either the prosecutors trying to make her look sympathetic or the defence trying to turn her into a liar. That’s the way courtrooms work, unfortunately.
However, the trial is far from over. Jeremy and Jason Giambi are expected to testify today, leading a long parade of former Major League Baseball players who will discuss steroids in open court. For baseball fans interested in the drug debate, this is when the story gets truly interesting.
Again, if you’re interested in following the trial as it happens, Sports Illustrated‘s George Dohrmann, ESPN’s Mark Fainaru-Wada, the SF Chronicle‘s Lance Williams, and Sports Page contributor Bethlehem Shoals are all at trial and providing updates via Twitter.
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