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Defense rests in Barry Bonds' federal perjury trial

By Michael Martinez, CNN
  • Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giants broke the home run record in 2007
  • He is charged with lying about taking performance-enhancing drugs
  • Jurors are expected to begin deliberations Thursday

(CNN) -- The defense rested Wednesday in Barry Bonds' perjury trial, and jurors are expected to begin deliberations Thursday after hearing closing arguments from the prosecution and Bonds' defense attorney.

Bonds, 46, has been standing trial since last month in a San Francisco federal court less than two miles from the ballpark where he broke Hank Aaron's major league home run record in August 2007. Three months later, Bonds, a star on the San Francisco Giants who ended up with 762 career home runs, was indicted.

One of the perjury charges against Bonds has been dropped at the request of the prosecution, leaving two charges that accuse him of lying about knowingly taking performance-enhancing drugs, another perjury charge alleging he lied about being injected by anyone but his doctors, and one count of obstruction of justice.

Each count could carry a 10-year prison sentence upon conviction.

Bonds is charged with lying under oath when he testified before the grand jury in 2003 that was investigating an alleged sports doping scandal involving Greg Anderson of the Bay Area Laboratory Co-operative (BALCO). Anderson, who became Bonds' trainer in 2000, was indicted by a federal grand jury on charges he supplied anabolic steroids to athletes.

Prosecutors hope they have convinced a jury of eight women and four men that Bonds knew his trainer was giving him illegal steroids and that he lied about it in testimony to the grand jury.

During the trial, Anderson refused to testify against Bonds, and the judge ordered him held in custody until he changes his mind.

CNN legal analyst Sunny Hostin said prosecutors withdrew one of the charges because of Anderson's refusal to testify in regard to that count.

"They had a lot of witnesses testify, but no one said, 'I saw him taking these steroids,' and that may be a little tough for the prosecution," Hostin said. "So the defense in this case, I think they are feeling pretty good and thinking, 'Let's put the prosecution to its proof.'"

In the trial's opening remarks, Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Parrella told jurors that a urine sample given by Bonds in the summer of 2003, just months before his grand jury testimony, tested positive for anabolic steroids.

Defense lawyer Allen Ruby, in his opening statement, told jurors that Bonds acknowledged to the grand jury that he used the substances known as "the clear and the cream," but at the time of his testimony even investigators didn't know what was in them.

Bonds told the grand jury he thought Anderson was giving flaxseed oil, Ruby said.

During court testimony last month, Bonds' childhood friend Steve Hoskins, who worked for a decade as his assistant, said he tried to persuade Bonds to stop using anabolic steroids in 2000 and 2003.

Hoskins, a key prosecution witness, was questioned by Bonds' defense lawyer, who suggested his cooperation with the government was motivated by bitterness about Bonds firing him and by a desire for protection from prosecution for allegedly stealing money from Bonds.

Prosecutors played an audio recording that Hoskins secretly made in the Giants locker room of a conversation with Anderson about the hazards of steroid usage.

Bonds' defense attorney suggested that Hoskins made the recording only after Bonds dismissed him in March 2003. Hoskins acknowledged that he leaked the details of the recording to investigative reporter Lance Williams, who included it in his book about the scandal, "Game of Shadows."

Hoskins' first conversation with Bonds about performance-enhancing drugs was in 1999, when Bonds asked him to "find out what this steroid does and what the side effects are and was it good or bad," Hoskins testified.

While he never witnessed Bonds being injected with anabolic steroids, Hoskins said he saw Bonds and Anderson emerge from a bedroom with a syringe during spring training in 2000.

Bonds complained to him that year that steroid injections "were making his butt sore," Hoskins said.

The subject of steroids came up again in 2002 during a conversation among Bonds, Anderson and Hoskins near the batting cage at the ballpark, Hoskins said. Bonds was upset because Anderson refused to give him an injection, he said.

Under cross-examination, Hoskins acknowledged that he secretly recorded the conversation after a meeting with Bonds in which the ballplayer severed their business relationship.

Hoskins testified that his break with Bonds happened because Bonds wanted him to spend more time with him at the ballpark, but he had to help his wife with a new daughter. "Barry told me at that time I had to choose between him and my wife," Hoskins testified.

One of Hoskins' jobs as Bonds' assistant was to give cash, sometimes in $5,000 installments, to two of the married baseball player's girlfriends, he testified. It also was his job to help Bonds juggle his time with those girlfriends and his wife during spring training in Arizona, he said.

In his 21-year major league career, Bonds also set the record for most home runs in a single season in 2001, when he hit 73. He did not officially retire after he was indicted, but he never played another game.