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Other ballplayers players to testify against Barry Bonds

Mar 8, 2011, 6:06 AM EDT

Barry Bonds

The judge in the Barry Bonds case is going to allow other ballplayers who worked with Greg Anderson to testify, with the idea that if they knew what they were taking, Bonds probably did too:

In a ruling filed Monday, Illston wrote that the athlete witnesses would provide evidence that “is relevant to the question of guilt or innocence in this case.” Prosecutors say those witnesses will testify that Anderson gave them performance-enhancing drugs, told them how to use those drugs and explained the efficacy of those substances. At the trial, the prosecutors plan to argue that Bonds, like Anderson’s other clients, was “not unwittingly duped into taking steroids.”

I tend to think that’s somewhat problematic in a guilt-by-association sense, but it’s coming in now and the cumulative effect of Anderson clients saying that they knew what as going down is going to be pretty bad for Bonds.  That is, unless the prosecution actually calls Benito Santiago, who testified thusly:

Santiago was asked, “Did he ever tell you that the things he was giving you were steroids or had steroidlike effects?” He answered no.

He was then asked: “So, I’m sorry I have to ask, you injected those items into your body, but didn’t know exactly what they were. Is that correct?”

He answered, “Believe it or not.”

Indeed, Bonds’ lawyers say that six of the seven ballplayers the prosecution is going to call testified at the grand jury that Anderson never specifically told them he was giving them steroids.

That said, we don’t have the totality of their testimony, so it’s hard to say what to think of this. It’s silly to think that the prosecution would fight hard to get these dudes on the stand if they truly said they were ignorant. It may be that Bonds’ lawyers are cherry-picking here and that the entirety of their testimony shows them to be hip to what was going down (“no, he never told me it was steroids, but I wasn’t born yesterday …”).  Obviously if these guys were saying exactly what Barry Bonds is saying, Bonds’ lawyers wouldn’t have tried to bar them from testifying.

I think the most interesting thing about all of this, however — and about the Clemens trial too — is the ballplayer vs. ballplayer dynamic. Hearing ballplayers talk one gets the sense that they would rather die than to throw another ballplayer under the bus, even if they hate the other ballplayer. Now they have little choice. I bet they make for some of the more nervous and uncomfortable witnesses around.

  1. thebrettman - Mar 8, 2011 at 7:28 AM

    This is crazy. They knew what they were taking, so you did too?

    • fat4jc - Mar 8, 2011 at 7:46 AM

      doesn’t seem like a logical argument, does it?

  2. Kevin S. - Mar 8, 2011 at 8:07 AM

    Even if the prosecution gets ten guys to say that they knew what Anderson was giving them, all the defense needs is one or two guys to say they didn’t. Unless the prosecution wants to press perjury charges against those players in another effort to get Anderson to testify, I don’t see how Bonds wouldn’t have plausible deniability.

  3. umrguy42 - Mar 8, 2011 at 11:04 AM

    …Craig, you’re a lawyer, does this essentially give Bonds & Co. an instant appeal possibility if he’s convicted?

    • Craig Calcaterra - Mar 8, 2011 at 11:13 AM

      I can’t speak to how strong an appeal this would be because I haven’t read the briefs and haven’t researched these evidentiary points for years and years.

      The most I can say is that these rulings, on their surface, seem counterintuitive to me.

  4. churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Mar 8, 2011 at 11:40 AM

    It may be that Bonds’ lawyers are cherry-picking here and that the entirety of their testimony shows them to be hip to what was going down (“no, he never told me it was steroids, but I wasn’t born yesterday …”).

    But even this isn’t proof that Bonds knew what was going on. Playing Devil’s Advocate, Bonds is obviously a smart guy. He knows how to work the media, even if he looks pathetic in doing so. But I just don’t see how, outside Anderson testifying, the prosecution can prove Bonds knew what he was taking was illegal*.

    *not a lawyer, so a little help here. Is he being charged with lying about taking steroids specifically, or lying about taking illegal drugs?

  5. metalhead65 - Mar 8, 2011 at 1:32 PM

    it still amazes me craig that you or anybody could be defending bonds on this.so say 8 of these guys say yes they knew what they are taking that does not prove bonds knew what he was taking?you think some legal technecality clears him and that is all that matters?again anybody who believes he did not take roids is a complete idiot! I understand he does not want to go to jail but he has to realize he is not fooling anybody right?outside of giant fans anyone with common sense knows he juiced so just admit and beg the media for forgiveness and move on already!

    • Craig Calcaterra - Mar 8, 2011 at 1:38 PM

      Actually, it’s the people who dismissively refer to the rules of evidence, the Constitution and the concept of prosecutorial discretion as “legal technicalities” who I think are complete idiots.

  6. spindervish - Mar 8, 2011 at 1:50 PM

    So no one is going to comment on that title?

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Mar 8, 2011 at 2:51 PM

      What’s not to understand? It’s talking about players who play with balls? And in light of Ms. Bell’s testimony it’s seems apt don’t you think?

  7. dexterismyhero - Mar 8, 2011 at 3:28 PM

    After he was 35 years old his feet grew a size or size and a half!!!!

    What a basketball head.

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