barry-bonds.jpgA former personal assistant to Barry Bonds testified in federal court in San Francisco today that he became aware that the home-run champion was taking anabolic steroids in 1999.

Former assistant Steve Hoskins told the jury in the court of U.S. District Judge Susan Illston that he learned of the alleged steroid use in a conversation with Bonds and Bonds’ trainer, Greg Anderson.

Hoskins said Bonds, who was then playing for the San Francisco Giants, instructed him to ask Bonds’ orthopedic surgeon, Arthur Ting, about the effects of the drug.

Asked by prosecutor Matthew Parrella for Bonds’ exact words, Hoskins said Bonds told him, “Find out what this steroid does and what’s the side effects, and was it good or bad.”
Hoskins said he later gave Bonds a written report from the doctor, but he did not say what the report said.

Hoskins also testified that during spring training in Arizona the following year, Bonds complained that he was sore from injections.

The conversation was “just that steroids, the shots were making his butt sore,” Hoskins testified.

Hoskins said that during that spring training, he saw Bonds and Anderson come out of a bedroom with Anderson holding a syringe, but said he never saw Anderson give an injection.

Bonds, 46, is accused of lying when he told a grand jury in 2003 that he never knowingly received steroids, other performance-enhancing drugs or any kind of injection from Anderson.

Because Anderson has refused to testify, Hoskins has become a key witness in prosecutors’ bid to prove that Bonds did take steroids and other drugs and therefore lied to the grand jury.

After jurors return from a lunch break, prosecutors plan to play a tape of a conversation Hoskins secretly recorded with Anderson at the Giants’ clubhouse in the spring of 2003. Prosecutors claim that tape shows Anderson discussing injecting Bonds.

Hoskins was a childhood friend of Bonds and became his assistant, aiding with sports equipment, memorabilia and business matters, beginning in 1993.

Defense attorney Allen Ruby said during his opening statement on Tuesday that Bonds ended the relationship in 2003 after he suspected Hoskins of stealing, and that Hoskins thereafter became very bitter toward Bonds.

Bonds, who set home-run records while playing for the Giants, is accused of four counts of false statements and one count of obstructing justice in his testimony on Dec. 4, 2003.

Julia Cheever, Bay City News

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