Barry Bonds, Major League Baseball’s home-run record holder, used anabolic steroids in 1999, his boyhood friend and former business partner told jurors at the former San Francisco Giants outfielder’s perjury trial.
Steve Hoskins grew up with Bonds in California, was his personal assistant, and had a sports memorabilia business with him selling lithographs he made of him and other baseball players. Hoskins said Bonds complained to him in 2000 about the effects of steroid injections in his buttocks.
“Just that the steroid, the shots were making his butt sore,” Hoskins told the federal court jury in San Francisco yesterday.
Hoskins said during three hours of questioning by Bonds’s attorney that he wasn’t happy about a soured memorabilia business deal with Bonds, that he made a secret tape recording of Bonds’s doctor around the time the two were having a fallout and that he disclosed the contents of another secret tape recording he made of Bonds’s trainer to the San Francisco Chronicle in 2004.
Bonds, 46, the holder of MLB records for career and single-season home runs, faces four counts of making false statements to a federal grand jury when he said he didn’t knowingly take steroids given to him by his trainer Greg Anderson and that no one other than his doctor gave him injections.
His lawyer told the jury in an opening statement on March 22 that Bonds truthfully told the grand jury he received steroids from Anderson, yet the substances were so new that he didn’t know what they were.
Hoskins was the government’s second witness at the trial, which is expected to last four weeks.
“Was there a time when you became aware that the defendant was using anabolic steroids?” Assistant U.S. Attorney Matt Parrella asked him.
“Yes,” Hoskins said. Parrella asked him when and he responded, “In 1999.” Hoskins said Bonds asked him to find information about the steroid Winstrol and its side effects.
Allen Ruby, Bonds’s attorney, told the jury in his opening statement that Hoskins forged Bonds’s name on sports memorabilia that he was selling. Ruby said Hoskins became a witness for the government after Bonds turned over information about the forgery to prosecutors, months before his grand jury testimony.
Federal prosecutors dropped an investigation of the forgeries, according to court documents.
Hoskins also testified yesterday that in 2000 he saw Bonds and Anderson coming out of a bedroom at Bonds’s spring training home and the trainer was carrying a syringe.
“I already knew what they were basically doing and I asked Greg what he was doing,” Hoskins told the jury.
Parrella asked Hoskins repeatedly not to tell the jury what Anderson said in response because that would be hearsay, which couldn’t be used as evidence in the case.
Anderson was sent to jail March 22 after U.S. District Judge Susan Illston found him in contempt of court for refusing to testify at the trial. Mark Geragos, Anderson’s lawyer, said the trainer didn’t agree to cooperate with prosecutors after he pleaded guilty to steroids distribution in 2005.
Hoskins said he secretly recorded a conversation about steroids that he had with Anderson in 2003 at the Giants stadium in San Francisco. Hoskins said he wanted to show Bonds’s father Bobby “what was going on” after Bonds and Anderson denied steroid use to the elder Bonds, who had also been a Giants outfielder as well as a coach for the team.
“I was hoping Bobby would be the one to stop them from doing it,” Hoskins said. “In 2003 I was even more concerned because it seemed to be getting out of hand, I thought.”
After jurors left for a lunch break, Ruby objected to the recording being played in front of them. Illston overruled that objection.
The tape was played and a transcript was given to jurors and displayed on a screen in the courtroom. Hoskins and Anderson are heard discussing how repeated injections in the same spot of the body can cause cysts. Hoskins then asks about “Barry’s” shots.
“I never just go there, I move it all over the place,” said a voice on the recording that Hoskins and a written transcript said was Greg Anderson.
The substances used were “undetectable,” Anderson is alleged to have said on the tape.
Hoskins, responding to a question by Parrella, said there was no deal between himself and the government under which prosecutors closed the forgery complaint in exchange for his trial testimony.
Ruby later showed Hoskins documents that he said showed that Hoskins told government agents that he had the tape “enhanced.” Hoskins said by enhanced, he meant he had the volume increased so it was easier to hear the voices.
Hoskins said he never played the tape for Bobby Bonds because the elder Bonds was ill.
Ruby also asked Hoskins about a secret tape recording he made of Bonds’s personal doctor around the time that he and Bonds were parting ways. Hoskins said he made the recording to help Bonds.
“The truth is, is it not, that you recorded” the doctor “so you could use information to extort Barry, isn’t it?” asked Ruby.
‘A Very Good Friend’
“No,” said Hoskins. He said the whereabouts of that recording were a “mystery” and perhaps the tape was never made because “I don’t know what happened to it.”
Hoskins said he told a reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle about the contents of the Anderson tape in 2004.
“You said your motives all along were good for Barry,” said Ruby.
“Barry is a very good friend, he’s a very good person, he is also one of the best baseball players there’s ever going to be,” Hoskins responded. “That’s why from 1999 to 2000 I was the one who tried to stop him from taking steroids, because I thought it was bad for him.”
The case is U.S. v. Bonds, 07-00732, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco).