barry-bonds.jpgAfter two and one-half weeks of trial, the defense in Barry Bonds’ perjury trial will begin presenting its side of the case in federal court in San Francisco Wednesday morning.

Defense attorney Allen Ruby told U.S. District Judge Susan Illston this afternoon that Bonds’ lawyers are planning to call three to six witnesses and that one of them may be Bonds himself.

“If Mr. Bonds testifies, it would be tomorrow,” Ruby said.

Bonds, 46, who set Major League Baseball home-run records while playing for the San Francisco Giants, is accused of lying in 2003 testimony before a federal grand jury that was investigating the distribution of steroids and other drugs to professional athletes.

He is charged with one count of obstructing justice and four counts of making false statements, including statements that he never knowingly received steroids or human growth hormone from his weights trainer, Greg Anderson.

At the start of the day on Wednesday, Illston will issue final rulings on several motions filed by the defense shortly after the prosecution rested its case in the early afternoon today.

Illston today tentatively denied most of the motions, but indicated that she may dismiss one of the false statements counts and tell the jury to disregard certain portions of prosecution testimony.

Ruby said the defense’s first witness will be Steve Hoskins, a former business associate of Bonds who testified two weeks ago as a prosecution witness.

Ruby said the defense will recall Hoskins to authenticate a tape he made of a conversation with Laura Enos, a business lawyer who helped Bonds fire Hoskins from a memorabilia business in the spring of 2003 after Bonds accused Hoskins of theft and forgery.

Ruby said the tape will reveal “an extortion attempt” and is intended to show that Hoskins was biased against Bonds.

Defense attorneys are seeking to question the credibility of Hoskins, who testified for the prosecution that he became aware of alleged steroid use by Bonds in 1999 and 2000.

The tape of the conversation with Enos is the third secret tape by Hoskins to come into play in the trial.

Earlier, Illston allowed prosecutors to play two sections of a tape of a spring 2003 conversation between Hoskins and Anderson in which Anderson discussed techniques of giving injections and spoke of an undetectable substance, the “same stuff that worked at the Olympics.”

Today, however, Illston indicated she may accept a defense motion to exclude the second section of the tape.

Ruby said prosecutors became aware of the Enos tape because it was made on the same tape recorder as the Anderson tape and was given to them by prosecutors on a CD containing both recordings.

The third tape made by Hoskins was of a conversation he held with Bonds’ orthopedic surgeon, Arthur Ting, shortly after federal agents raided the Burlingame office of the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative, or BALCO, in September 2003.

Illston today barred prosecutors from using the tape because it was “barely intelligible” and contained inadmissible hearsay in Hoskins’ description of news accounts of the BALCO raid.

Prosecutors had hoped the Ting tape would bolster the credibility of Hoskins’ testimony that Dr. Ting talked to him about steroids in connection with Bonds.

Hoskins testified that he had 50 conversations with Ting about Bonds in connection with steroids. But Ting denied that during his own testimony.

Ruby said the defense also plans to call an FBI agent and a U.S. Internal Revenue Service agent to the stand.

He said the defense was considering, but had not yet decided on, calling Bonds, Enos, and Harvey Shields, who was Bonds’ stretching trainer.

Ruby said the defense may complete its testimony on Wednesday, or possibly Thursday morning if Bonds’ attorneys present all six witnesses. The next steps in the case will be closing arguments by attorneys on both sides and then jury deliberations.

Illston said at the end of today’s court session, “In my own mind, I’m estimating we’ll argue on Thursday.”

Julia Cheever, Bay City News

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