Sizing up the key figures in the Barry Bonds perjury trial
The start of the perjury trial against former San Francisco Giants slugger Barry Bonds this week doesn't guarantee that the BALCO scandal -- now in its ninth year -- has reached an absolute end, but it represents a culmination of sorts: The scandal's most recognizable figure finally stands before a jury.
The stakes for Bonds are obvious. If he is found to have lied in 2003, when he testified before a federal grand jury hearing evidence of BALCO's doping of athletes, he could face prison time (Each of the four perjury counts against him carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison; the same is true of the obstruction of justice count). In addition, testimony by (among others) his ex-girlfriend, ex-personal assistant and an assortment of former teammates will clarify and magnify the extent to which his achievements were enhanced by performance-enhancing drugs.
Bonds, however, will share the spotlight with another group of individuals: the judge, lawyers and witness involved in the case. In the San Francisco Bay Area so many lawyers have worked on BALCO-related legal issues -- either counseling witnesses or defending the accused -- that it is almost impossible to find a big firm that doesn't have at least a tangential connection to the case. Also, some of the witness who will appear in the Bonds trial testified at earlier hearings and the Judge, Susan Illston, has presided over the BALCO case since the beginning.
"The case has been going on so long, and so many people have worked on it, that pretty much everyone [in the legal community] is familiar with the particulars and the players," said one Bay Area lawyer.
For the benefit of those less familiar, here is a primer on the key figures in the case. SI.com also asked two lawyers with connections to the BALCO scandal to comment on these individuals, which they did under the stipulation that their names not be used.
Appointed by former President Bill Clinton in 1995, Illston was a well-known lawyer in the Bay Area, partnering with Joe Cotchett. She graduated from Duke and then got her law degree from Stanford. Daughter of an Army officer, she was born in Tokyo and went to high school in Germany. Considered a rising star on the bench and whispered to be in the running for a spot on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Ruby grew up in Detroit and his father was a professional wrestler. He joined his father's troupe and also did commentary for the family's TV shows,
A New Jersey native and graduate of Rutgers Law School, Arguedas is a prominent figure in the California legal and political scene. (Her domestic partner is former state senator Carole Migden.) A partner at Arguedas, Cassman & Headley, she has represented numerous corporate officials but has dipped her toe into sports trials before. In 1995, O.J. Simpson's defense team brought her in to do a mock cross-examination of the accused former NFL star and rumor has it that her performance convinced Simpson's lawyers not to put him on the stand. She successfully defended former Oakland Raider Darrell Russell in a rape trial.
A graduate of NYU Law, Riordan was an interesting addition to Bonds' legal team because his expertise lies in appellate law. Most famously he worked on the case of the "San Quentin Six," representing Johnny Spain, one of six Black Panthers accused of murdering three prison guards. Riordan got Spain's conviction overturned after a 14-year appeal.
Arguedas' legal partner, Cassman graduated from Cal-Berkeley's Boalt Hall School of Law. He wrote the winning briefs in United States v. Merchant, a case before the U.S. States Supreme Court.
He has been head of the San Jose branch of the U.S Attorney's office since 2003. He is also the chief of the Computer Hacking and Intellectual Property (CHIP) Unit, the first unit of its kind in the country. A New York native, he handled homicide prosecutions for Suffolk County and then moved to Las Vegas, where he worked as a federal prosecutor for five years before moving to Northern California.
Nedrow, a Stanford graduate who attended UCLA Law School, questioned Bonds during his grand jury testimony. He has worked in both the San Jose and San Francisco U.S. Attorney's offices, spending nearly 20 years as a federal prosecutor.
A childhood friend of Bonds', he eventually became his trainer and was a constant presence around Bonds as he rose to become baseball's home run king. The government has put considerable pressure on Anderson (jailing him for more than a year) and members of his family, but he has remained steadfast in his refusal to talk about his dealings with Bonds. The inability of the government to get Anderson on the stand led Judge Illston to throw out evidence -- including doping calendars and three tests that allegedly showed that Bonds doped -- considered important to the government's case. Anderson's voice on an incriminating recording, however, will be heard.
The lead investigator in the BALCO case, Novitzky has become the face of the BALCO investigation. Now with the Food and Drug Administration (he was a IRS Criminal Investigation agent when the BALCO scandal began), he has continued to investigate steroid use in sports, playing a prominent role in the current Lance Armstrong investigation.
Bonds' former girlfriend will, according to court filings, testify that Bonds told her he did steroids before the 2000 season, and she can also speak to his relationship with Anderson. She will also testify about changes she saw in Bonds' body beginning in the year 2000.
One of six former teammates of Bonds' listed as potential government witnesses, Estalella is the only one to have allegedly discussed doping with Bonds. According to the
Steve Hoskins was a childhood friend of Bonds' and then worked as his personal assistant. His sister Kathy was hired as Bonds' personal shopper and assistant. Steve Hoskins had a falling out with Bonds prior to making allegations about his steroid use, and he later taped a conversation with Anderson in which the doping of athletes was discussed.