The perjury trial of home-run record holder Barry Bonds was abruptly put on hold at the beginning of its third week in federal court in San Francisco today because a juror has kidney stones or gallstones.
U.S. District Judge Susan Illston recessed the trial until Tuesday.
The judge considered replacing the ill juror with an alternate and continuing the trial today. But at the request of both prosecution and defense, she agreed to send the jury home and wait until Tuesday to re-evaluate the situation. The attorneys said they feared excusing the ill juror could jeopardize completion of the trial because there are only two alternates. Replacing the ill juror would leave just one remaining alternate.
Bonds, 46, is on trial on charges of lying in 2003 to a grand jury that was investigating the sales of performance-enhancing drugs by the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative, or BALCO.
The former San Francisco Giants slugger is accused of lying when he told the panel he never knowingly received steroids or human growth hormone from his trainer, Greg Anderson, and never received any kind of injection from Anderson.
The trial – which had been expected to end this week – was further unsettled today by a series of arguments about evidence.
Prosecutors announced that one of their witnesses, former Bonds business partner Steve Hoskins, had located a previously missing tape made a number of years ago of an alleged conversation between Hoskins and Bonds’ orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Arthur Ting.
They said that tape may contradict some of Ting’s testimony last week and that they may need to call Hoskins or Ting or both back to the witness stand.
In testimony last week, Ting denied Hoskins’ statements that Hoskins had talked to Ting as many as 50 times about steroids and other drugs in connection with Bonds. The doctor said he had only one general conversation, not pertaining to Bonds, about steroids with Hoskins.
Illston said she will consider whether the newly discovered tape should be allowed as evidence later today after a transcript is prepared and defense attorneys have had a chance to examine it.
Defense attorneys also asked for an evidentiary hearing on whether prosecutors failed to tell them about potentially favorable evidence stemming from a 2006 meeting with Ting.
Illston declined to order such a hearing, saying prosecutors engaged in “sloppy practice,” but that she found “no need for an evidentiary hearing at this time.”
But the judge said she would allow defense attorney Cris Arguedas to file a statement under seal about another piece of evidence that the defense claims prosecutors failed to disclose.
Julia Cheever, Bay City News