Witness list released for upcoming Bonds trial
We're getting our first glimpse into what to expect at the Barry Bonds perjury trial scheduled for the spring since the witness list has been made public. ABC7 checked in with one of the key figures from the BALCO doping scandal -- former BALCO president Victor Conte.
Federal prosecutors' witness list in the perjury case against Barry Bonds includes seven professional baseball players. In court documents, the prosecution says six of them will testify they used banned performance-enhancing drugs they got from Bonds' former trainer Greg Anderson.
The six players are: Jason Giambi, Jeremy Giambi, Randy Velarde, Marvin Benard, Armando Rios, and Benito Santiago.
A 7th player, Bobby Estelella, will testify that Bonds admitted using performance-enhancing drugs and that they talked about it several times.
The case against Bonds hinges on whether he lied to a grand jury about knowingly using steroids, so it begs the question, why bother with the six athletes whose testimony includes no mention of Bonds?
"The argument will be well if all these other guys knew and if Greg Anderson was saying that if it was common knowledge that BALCO was a steroids supplier, then why would Barry Bonds be the only person to be exempt from that knowledge?" says ABC7 legal analyst Dean Johnson.
Anderson is still on the list though he's already spent months in jail, refusing to testify. He's expected to refuse again. Without him, prosecutors cannot use what they say are three positive Bonds drug tests.
Bonds' former mistress Kimberly Bell will testify he told her about using steroids before the 2000 season, and about changes to Bonds' body that the government says were from steroid use.
"It's going to be a slugfest, this is not a cakewalk for the government," says BALCO labs founder Victor Conte.
Conte is noticeably absent from the list.
"Here it's been seven years, I've said from the beginning, I never talked to him about it, I never gave him any, I never had anything to do with Barry Bonds receiving or using performance-enhancing drugs. I don't think that testimony helps the government," says Conte.
He thinks the Bonds trial is a case of selective prosecution.
"It's really more about trophy hunting than it is about perjury because I think that yes, athletes cheat to win, yes, athletes have lied and used drugs. I believe that the government cheats to win too," says Conte.
Bonds will have to be in the courtroom for the trial, but it's unknown if he will testify.
barry bonds, mlb, heather ishimaru
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