U.S. District Judge Susan Illston, after conferring with attorneys in the case in late afternoon, said the trial would continue Tuesday morning with either the ailing juror back in place, if he has recovered, or with an alternate juror taking his place.
The trial in Illston’s court in San Francisco was abruptly recessed this morning, at the start of its third week, and other jurors were sent home because of the missing juror’s illness.
Both prosecution and defense asked the judge to wait one day before dismissing the ill juror and seating an alternate. They said they feared completion of the trial could be jeopardized because there are only two alternate jurors.
Bonds, 46, is accused of lying to a federal grand jury in 2003, when he said he never knowingly took steroids or human growth hormone from his trainer, Greg Anderson. The panel was investigating sales of sports drugs by the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative, or BALCO.
In another development today, prosecutors announced that a long-missing tape that allegedly shows a conversation between Bonds’ former business associate, Steve Hoskins, and his orthopedic surgeon, Arthur Ting, has been found.
But whether the tape will be allowed as evidence or what it might prove remained up in the air at the end of the day today.
Illston, who said she had listened to the tape during the day, and said that it appears that “most of it is inadmissible and irrelevant.”
But she said she would await the preparation of a transcript of the tape and possible defense motions opposing the use of it as evidence before deciding how to proceed.
Hoskins testified earlier in the trial that he secretly taped the conversation with Ting sometime after a federal raid on BALCO in Burlingame in September 2003.
Hoskins, who was fired by Bonds as a business partner in March 2003 in the midst of allegations he had stolen from the home-run champion, said he could not remember why he made the tape.
He also said he had not been able to find the tape, despite a grand jury subpoena in 2005. But prosecutors told Illston this morning that they learned from Hoskins Sunday night that he had just found the 15-minute cassette tape.
The content of the tape has not been revealed, but Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Parrella told Illston this afternoon that it may serve to corroborate Hoskins’ testimony that he had conversations with Ting about Bonds and steroids.
Hoskins testified he had 50 conversations with Ting about Bonds and steroid drugs. But Ting contradicted that testimony last week, saying that he had had only one general conversation, not pertaining specifically to Bonds, about steroids with Hoskins.
Both sides are preparing transcripts of the tape and prosecutors agreed to deliver the original tape to a laboratory selected by the defense for examination on Tuesday morning.
Aside from the possible use of the tape and possible recall of Hoskins or Ting, or both, to the stand, prosecutors have only four more witnesses.
They are drug-testing expert Dr. Don Catlin, who is the founder and former director of the UCLA Olympic Analytical Laboratory, and three technicians from the lab. Their testimony is expected to be completed Tuesday.
Defense attorneys have not said how many witnesses they will call.
In a pretrial filing, Bonds’ lawyers listed only a handful of possible witnesses, including two trainers, a doctor who is a steroids expert, and former Bonds attorney Michael Rains.
But the attorneys reserved the right to add more witnesses if needed to challenge the prosecution’s case.
Julia Cheever, Bay City News