Thursday April 7, 2011
This day featured closing arguments in the nearly three week long trial of home run king Barry Bonds as 12 jurors passed judgment on the four counts against Bonds– three for lying to the grand jury and one for obstruction of justice.
Following a 15 minute wait, the media, followed by the spectators, were ushered into the spacious Courtroom 10. As the trial proceeded, the U.S. Marshals seemed to be in more convivial spirits. Perhaps the pending end of this intense three week trial, combined with the fact the media and the marshals have become better acquainted, has improved the atmosphere.
The courtroom was more occupied than last week, at least among the attorneys, support staff and court personnel. Barry Bonds was dressed in a black suit, blue shirt and yellow polka dot tie. I was seated next to New York Times reporter Julie Macur, who typed away diligently on her notebook.
Barry Bonds’ attorneys Cristina Arguedas and Allen Ruby take alternate turns excoriating the government case. The attorneys reminded the attentive jurors that they can only convict Barry Bonds if they find him guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt.” Bonds’ attorneys maintained that two chief government witnesses, Barry Bonds former companion Kimberly Bell and his former friend Stevie Hoskins, have either perjured themselves on the stand in the case of Ms. Bell, or that the government has a conflict in using Mr. Hoskins as a prosecution witness.
Cristina Arguedas emphatically and with vivid gestures pointed at the U.S. attorneys and told the jurors that Barry Bonds had approached the government before his own indictment. Bonds attorneys emphatically reminded the jurors that the US Attorney in San Francisco has a specific conflict. The conflict is having Hoskins as a potential target in a criminal investigation in the marketing of Barry Bonds memorabilia while simultaneously presenting Hoskins as a government witness in the Bonds trial.
U.S. Deputy Attorney Matthew Parrella concluded the government case by referring to his yellow pad, refuting Barry Bonds attorneys’ robust assertions. Mr. Parrella told the jurors that the only reason this matter is before them is because Barry Bonds lied to the grand jury. End of story. Mr. Parrella maintained that all the talk about Steve Hoskins, Kimberly Bell and other witnesses is a ruse to take the onus of guilt off the proper party, Barry Bonds.
Friday April 9, 2011.
I am standing in line at the State courthouse at 11:10 a.m. when I receive a call from Courthouse News Reporter and USF grad Maria Dinzeo. She tells me Judge Illston has summoned the trial into session as the jurors want to review a trial exhibit. I am certain it is too soon for a verdict as the 12 jurors had just begun deliberating this morning.
The press gallery is packed and Barry’s mom, as usual, is sitting in her customary spot in the front row. In the media gallery some reporters have already written their stories on the verdict and need only to ad either the word “guilty” or “acquitted” to wrap it up. Other journalists engage in speculation about how much this trial is costing Barry Bonds financially.
The jurors were ushered into the courtroom to tell Judge Illston they want to hear the 2003 audio tape conversation between Barry Bonds’ trainer, friend Greg Anderson and former friend Steve Hoskins. In it the topic of steroids was discussed. The somewhat disjointed audio along with the transcript on a screen played for the assembled courtroom. Barry Bonds’ attorneys were unhappy that Judge Illston permitted the jurors to hear the tape. The jurors, eyes closed and fingers on lips, follow attentively.
When Judge Illston and the attorneys conferred in a corner of the courtroom, the jurors chatted amicably, sometimes laughing amongst themselves. What this says about their deliberations and how they will decide is, obviously, difficult to gauge. After listening to the audio tape the jurors returned to the jury room. Barry Bonds legal fate and, perhaps his spot on the Hall of Fame, is still unresolved.
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