Barry Lamar Bonds: The Noose Tightens

Bleacher ReportSenior Writer IFebruary 14, 2009

In the United States of America, you're supposed to be innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.  The court of public opinion is obviously much different and follows no such egalitarian credo.  If it looks like a chicken and sounds like a chicken, it's a chicken until it's proven to be a duck.

I don't have a huge problem with that, so long as we wait until it's reasonable to jump to those social conclusions.

Which brings me to Barry Lamar Bonds.

With regard to Bonds, I'm a fan.  I have to be, considering that he carried the San Francisco Giants for over a decade.  Today, the public has tattooed juicer all over his massive forehead, and I've no problem with that.  Nor would I even disagree.

I said I was a fan, not delusional.

Regardless, the United States Department of "Justice" is not the masses.  Consequently, it should not be allowed to subscribe and apply the public's standard of circumstantially guilty until proven innocent.  Nevertheless, this is exactly what its District Office in San Francisco is doing.

And it is outrageous.

Consider its latest filing, which names the following key witnesses:

1.  Kimberly Bell—Barry's former mistress; she'll testify that Barry told her he started juicing prior to 2000.

2.  Bobby Estalella—one of Barry's former teammates;  he'll testify that Barry told him, on several occasions, that the slugger was using performance-enhancing drugs.

3.  Steve Hoskins—Bond's former childhood friend; he'll testify that Barry told him of Barry's PED use over the course of several discussions. Hoskins also has a recording of a conversation with Greg Anderson in which the former was trying to get the latter on tape saying Barry was juicing.  The childhood buddy was so concerned for his friend that he wanted proof to show Bobby Bonds, Barry's father.

4.  Kathy Hoskins—Bond's former personal shopper and sister to Steve; she'll testify that she saw Anderson injecting Bonds.  Apparently, she didn't know if the syringe contained PEDs—that doesn't matter too much, since Bonds is on record saying only his doctor shot him up with anything.  More about her later.

The DOJ has also hinted it may bring in a whole host of ex-ballplayers of varied notoriety, most about the same caliber as Estalella.

Those first three witnesses are ridiculous.

Forget the credibility issues of a jilted lover, a burnout, never-was ex-juicer and an ex-friend against whom Bonds has filed embezzlement charges.  Forget the idea of Barry Lamar Bonds confiding in anyone, let alone these three jokers.

I mean, this is a man who is notorious for being aloof, condescending and inaccessible.

Forget all that because any law student can tell you that all three pieces of testimony, as offered, are textbook examples of hearsay.  As such, they are inadmissible.

Hearsay is an out-of-court-statement made by a declarant being offered at trial to prove the truth of the matter asserted.  It does NOT matter if the declarant is now in court—that Bonds is sitting at the defendant's table.  It wouldn't even matter if the same declarant were testifying to the statement (i.e. if witness A said, "I told him/her this," it would be tossed if the original statement were made out of court).

The point is that the party adversely affected by the statement must have a chance to challenge its trustworthiness, sincerity, whatever at the time it was made.

So we can chuck Bell, Estalella, and Hoskins.  Summarily.

The outrageous part is that the government CANNOT pretend it doesn't know those three pieces of "evidence" are bad.  Rotten.

An accusation proven by the fact it's trying to get around the hearsay problem with regard to Anderson.  There, the government is arguing that Greg was Bonds' agent.  The federal rules exempt such statements from hearsay consideration, but I won't get into that.

The technicalities are irrelevant, because the very fact that the government is trying to make the argument proves it recognizes hearsay.  So they must recognize it in the statements made by Bell, Estalella and Steve Hoskins.

But let me get back to Kathy Hoskins.  She's the only new name on that list.

Not surprisingly, she's also offering the only non-hearsay bit of evidence.  She saw the injection—nobody told her about it.  Hmmm, that's convenient.

This nonsense has been going on for years now, and each piece of evidence the government wants to use is fatally flawed by hearsay.  Then, all of a sudden, a new piece pops up that doesn't rely on hearsay.  It also just happens that it's offered by a woman who is related to another witness/defendant in a collateral suit by Barry Bonds (the defendant in this trial).


Where's she been for the last five years?  She saw Barry receiving injections from Greg Anderson—while her brother was getting sued by Bonds—and it's taken her this long to come forward?  Riiiiiiight.

There are even more problematic tactics that I won't get into—partly because it gets tedious and partly because it requires legal knowledge that goes over my head.  Suffice it to say, though, that the repeated incarceration of Greg Anderson (already over 13 months), the collateral tax investigation of Anderson's wife/mother-in-law and other desperate actions by the prosecution smell fishy.

Not only is it abhorrent behavior by the US Department of "Justice," but it's pathetically transparent.  The only reason there hasn't been cacophonous outcry is because Barry Bonds is about as pleasant as a fractured testicle.

That's why ESPN is able to trot out that paradigm of responsible investigative journalism, Mark Fainaru-Wada, to tell everyone that the above evidence is NOT hearsay.  He even explains why it's NOT hearsay—and his explanation is priceless.

Oh, it's actual people talking about actual conversations so it's not hearsay.  It's only hearsay if they're lying.  I see.

Wait...I thought we already dealt with false testimony by calling it perjury.  I think there might even be a ballplayer on trial for it.

So it's not just the government.

ESPN and Fainaru-Wada can't even be trouble themselves to get the primary facts right in their haste to add fuel to the fire.  They know they don't have to, because it's Barry Bonds—nobody likes Barry, so nobody will even notice when new rules are made just for him.

And that's unfortunate, because popularity is a fleeting thing.

Justice shouldn't be.


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