It was a great day at the Barry Bonds trial if you’re into chain-of-custody testimony and talk about urinalysis. I think that covers approximately 0.0045% of the population, and that’s a generous estimate. There are, like, three dudes, however, who love both topics so yesterday was like Christmas for them.
The day started with ballplayers at least: Marvin Bernard and Randy Velarde, each of whom testified about their Greg Anderson-supplied steroid use. There was one interesting moment when Bernard was grilled about whether he was coached by the prosecution to use the term “undetectable steroid,” which was a term he did not use in his 2003 grand jury testimony. Then he used the term “stuff.”
Bernard said he wasn’t coached, but yeah, using a precise term like that clearly would give the jury the impression that he had somewhat more precise information about what he was taking back when he played. And that’s pretty critical given that Bonds’ testimony — and every other ballplayer’s, really — was vague about it all. But I have to ask: if everyone, back in 2003 was calling it “stuff” and didn’t really concern themselves with what, exactly, it was, doesn’t that cut against the prosecution’s case?
Velarde testified that Anderson gave him injections when they’d meet up in parking lots. That may be the saddest, most pathetic thing I’ve ever heard. Get a room, will ya?
As for the chain-of-custody/urine testimony, the highlight was the cross-examination of IRS agent Mike Wilson, who was the one who seized the famous MLB pilot-program test samples during a raid. You know, the ones where it was later ruled that the government abused its authority in taking samples for players who were in no way associated with the BALCO investigation. Wilson testified that he brought the urine samples home with him on an airplane, stashed in his garment bag. So, ewww.
Today may be the last day in the prosecution’s case. There are three witnesses left: Bonds’ former personal shopper and the sister of his former lackey, Kathy Hoskins; Bonds’ orthopedic surgeon; and another urine sample analytics expert.
The key thing, though, will be something that could actually help the defense: Bonds’ grand jury testimony will be read. As I’ve said time and again, the jury is not going to hear a lot of stark lies. At least nothing that sounds like it. They will hear confusing, multi-part rambling questions premised on scientific terms, followed by a mostly confused-sounding and often rambling Barry Bonds.
The jury doesn’t need to believe everything that Bonds says in this testimony in order to acquit him. But they do need to believe, beyond a reasonable doubt, that he lied in order to convict him. I’ve read that testimony before and it’s about as clear as mud. This may not go as well for them as they hoped.