Government Crash and Burn in Barry Bonds Steroid Perjury Trial

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The United States government called Dr. Arthur Ting, the orthopedic surgeon for former baseball superstar Barry Bonds, to testify on Friday. Dr. Ting acted more like a defense witness than a witness for the prosecution as he systematically and repeated contradicted and undermined testimony by Steve Hoskins. Hoskins had testified, among other things, that he had about fifty conversations regarding steroids with Dr. Ting and that the surgeon told him steroids were responsible for Barry Bonds elbow injury. Ting denied these conversations ever occurred and admitted he only had one discussion with Hoskins and that it did not even directly involve Barry Bonds.

The government apparently expected Dr. Ting’s testimony would support their case and help convince a jury that Barry Bonds committed perjury when he told a 2003 BALCO grand jury that he never knowingly used anabolic steroids. Instead, Ting decimated the government’s case against Bonds.

Barry Bonds attorney Cristina Arguedas ruled the courtroom during her cross-examination of Ting. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeff Nedrow was highly flustered and unable to hold his own in the face of the triumphant Arguedas. Nedrow admitted to Judge Susan Illston that the credibility of Steve Hoskins was “impeached heavily” by Ting’s testimony.

Cris Arguedas was all over the government for apparently violating the constitutional rights of her client by failing to turn over exculpatory evidence about the contradictory testimony offered by Ting. Since the government failed to disclose notes of their 2006 meeting with Dr. Ting, they may have violated the constitutional right to due process afforded Barry Bonds by the Supreme Court ruling Brady v. Maryland. If these notes could have helped the defense in any way, this presents a serious problem in the trial. How much did the government know about Ting and Hoskins’ contradictory testimony that it failed to disclose to the defense?

Assistant U.S. Attorney told Judge Illston that the government’s meeting with Ting was not “substantive” and that the government did not takes any notes from the proceeding.

Barry Bonds lawyers have filed a legal brief requesting an evidentiary hearing regarding the government’s knowledge of Ting’s testimony including potentially “exculpatory evidence” that it failed to disclose to the defense. The filing includes a declaration from Ting’s former attorneys that is reportedly a two-page memorandum with notes from the three-hour meeting between the government and Dr. Ting in 2006. Contrary to Assistant U.S. Attorney Nedrow’s assertion, the brief suggests the meeting involved substantive matters.

A ruling by Judge Susan Illston is expected in the coming week as the Barry Bonds trial continues. Bonds is widely considered the government’s ultimate target in the steroids in baseball – BALCO  investigation.

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