Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Damning testimony from former mistress: Steroid use described

Bonds became 'increasingly aggressive,' ex-lover testifies

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SAN FRANCISCO -- Kimberly Bell, her voice cracking, looked out at the courtroom and talked about the final stretch of her nine-year relationship with Barry Bonds.

The greatest hitter of his era threatened "to cut my head off and leave me in a ditch," she said. "More than once."

She said Bonds told her "he would cut out my breast implants because he paid for them."

As for the Arizona house he had helped pay for, "he told me he would burn it down."

Bonds' federal trial resumed Monday with nearly day-long testimony from his former mistress, who said the slugger attributed a 1999 elbow injury to steroids use. She also discussed how Bonds became verbally abusive and said that his physique changed, offering a lurid description of his shrinking testicles, back acne, scalp hair that fell out and chest hair that turned grey. Such mental and physical symptoms are associated with steroid use.

Prosecutors allege Bonds lied when he told a federal grand jury in 2003 that he never knowingly used performance-enhancing drugs.

Bell met Bonds in 1994 and testified that from 1999 to 2001, "he was just increasingly aggressive, irritable, agitated, very impatient."

In testimony similar to that of former Bonds business partner Steve Hoskins last week, she said in at least two different years at spring training, she saw Bonds and personal trainer Greg Anderson "go into a bedroom off the kitchen and close and lock the door."

She said Anderson "would always have a little satchel with him." She saw those scenes played out multiple times.

Prosecutors claim Anderson, who has been jailed for refusing to testify, repeatedly injected Bonds with performance-enhancing drugs.

Dressed in a grey pantsuit and white shirt, and with deep lines under her eyes, Bell answered 72 minutes of prosecution questions and was pressured during four hours 15 minutes of questioning from the defence, who tried to portray her as a gold digger, a scorned former lover, a liar and the instigator of a mortgage fraud scheme.

Defence lawyer Cristina Arguedas brought up an interview Bell gave Playboy and a television appearance on Geraldo Rivera.

"You have taken many opportunities to disparage Barry Bonds ... in the most vulgar ways possible?" Arguedas said in a question that was more a statement.

"Did you go on Howard Stern's radio show?" Arguedas continued. "Does he do anything that isn't vulgar?"

When Arguedas repeated: "Did you say vulgar things about Barry Bonds?" Bell answered: "Please refresh my memory."

With that, Arguedas took a break to talk with Allen Ruby, Bonds' lead lawyer. After a few moments, Arguedas told the court: "We're going to decline that opportunity to go into the gutter. No more questions."

While there were empty seats in the courtroom last week, the wood benches were filled for Bell's testimony.

Bell testified Bonds revealed his steroids use to her only once, between 1999 and 2000 at her apartment.

"He had an injury on his elbow and it was a big lump on his elbow," she said. "It looked really awful, and he said it was because of steroids. ... somehow it caused the muscle and the tendons to grow faster than the joint itself could handle."

Bonds had left elbow surgery on April 20, 1999, and was on the disabled list until June 9. He holds the MLB records for home runs in a career (762) and a single season (73).

Dressed in a dark blue suit, light blue shirt and blue-and-silver patterned tie, Bonds alternately watched Bell on the stand, scribbled notes and whispered to Ruby. A few times, Bonds put on reading glasses.

 

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 29, 2011 C6

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