SAN FRANCISCO -- Three quick thoughts after Day 3 of the perjury trial of former Giants outfielder Barry Bonds:
1. Steve Hoskins was a believable witness ... at first. Hoskins, Bonds' childhood friend and former gofer, took the stand at 9:21 a.m. Other than a 45-minute break for lunch and two, 15-minute recesses, he was in the witness box the entire day. It was a grind. His best moments came early, when he testified how Bonds asked him in 1999 to research the steroid Winstrol, and how, during spring training the following season, he saw Bonds' trainer Greg Anderson with a syringe just before Bonds and Anderson went into Bonds' bedroom together, something they did a couple times each spring for three years. Hoskins also testified that he was present when Anderson and Bonds argued around the batting cage at AT&T Park over whether Anderson would inject Bonds. The second count of the indictment states that Bonds lied when he said no one other than a doctor had injected him, and Hoskins' testimony refutes that to a degree.
2. Hoskins' much-hyped recording of Greg Anderson wasn't as persuasive. A conversation Hoskins secretly recorded between he and Anderson from 2003 was played for the jury. In it, Anderson, the alleged supplier of performance-enhancing drugs to Bonds, discusses moving injections to different parts of the body to prevent cysts. Anderson also talks about stuff being "undetectable." It is decent material, but some of the tape was hard to follow and there was little context given to what was recorded because Anderson is not testifying, and therefore Hoskins could not discuss what Anderson said. Combined with further evidence, the tape can help the prosecution, but it fell short of being the smoking gun that some billed it as before the trial began.
3. Allen Ruby tore Hoskins apart. During cross-examination, defense attorney Ruby wore Hoskins down and put into question much of his earlier testimony. The best example dealt with Hoskins' motivation for recording Anderson. Hoskins said he made the recording to share it with Bobby Bonds, hoping that Barry's father would realize that his son was doing performance-enhancing drugs and persuade him to stop. But Ruby quickly made Hoskins look like a spurned friend. It wasn't until 2003, after Bonds limited and then cut Hoskins' ability to enter into lucrative memorabilia deals, that Hoskins recorded the conversation with Anderson. He also recorded Bonds' doctor, and he never gave a clear reason as to why. To some jurors, Hoskins will surely come across as a disgruntled former lackey who was looking for ways to extort money from his former boss and friend. Bonds' defense team nailed Hoskins on other points as well, and it isn't over: Hoskins will return to the stand Thursday for more grilling.
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