Bonds blamed injury on steroids: ex-mistress

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Mar 29 2011 02:15 PM | Updated as of Mar 29 2011 10:15 PM

SAN FRANCISCO – When Barry Bonds' ex-girlfriend walked into a San Francisco courtroom Monday to testify against the famed baseball player, it was the first time the two had seen each other in eight years.

Bonds, in a blue shirt and dark blue tie, looked down as Kimberly Bell strode to the stand and was sworn in.

The former Giants star listened, usually attentively, over the next six hours as Bell testified that Bonds underwent dramatic physical and emotional changes during their nine-year relationship and admitted his steroid use to her in 1999.

Bonds, who holds both the single-season and career-home run records, is accused of lying when he told a 2003 grand jury he had never knowingly used performance-enhancing drugs.

He has pleaded not guilty to four counts of perjury and one count of obstruction of justice.

During five hours of withering cross-examination, Bonds lawyer Cris Arguedas painted Bell as a publicity-hungry scorned mistress looking to profit from a failed book deal about her relationship with the US home run king -- an accusation Bell steadfastly denied.

Bell told jurors that Bonds' "overall body grew dramatically" starting around 1999, and that he experienced back acne, bloating, baldness and sexual dysfunction. An anti-doping expert told jurors last week that all are side effects of steroid use.

Bonds also told her a persistent elbow injury was the result of the banned drugs, Bell testified.

"He said it was because of steroids, because somehow it caused the muscle and the tendons to grow faster than the joints could handle."

And Bonds "mentioned that other players do it.

"That's how they were getting ahead, that's how they were achieving -- with steroids."

As Bonds looked on, occasionally taking notes or whispering to his lawyers, Bell described their relationship from the time she met him at age 24 in the parking lot of the Giants stadium to the day in 2003 he broke up with her by phone, telling her to "disappear".

According to Bell, by 2000 Bonds had morphed into an intensely aggressive, menacing figure.

"He told me he would cut my head off and leave me in a ditch," a tearful Bell told the jury of eight women and four men.

"What else?" prosecutor Jeff Nedrow asked.

"That he would cut out my breast implants because he paid for them," Bell said.

Near the end of the relationship, she would be so panicked about angering Bonds by missing his calls that she would "dump my purse out on the ground" to get to her ringing cell phone, Bell testified.

"Roid rage" is also a side effect of steroid use, anti-doping expert Larry Bowers testified last week.

Bell?s tearful testimony drew the wrath of defence lawyer Cris Arguedas, who started her cross-examination by grilling Bell about her public post-breakup interviews.

"On how may of those radio shows did you cry?" Arguedas asked. "Any tears during these radio shows?" Bell said she didn't know.

Throughout her cross-examination, which frequently became combative, Arguedas accused Bell of lying under oath and trying to profit from her romantic relationship with Bonds, and the steroids scandal he had become ensnared in.

"You were hoping to get rich off the book, weren't you?" Arguedas said.

"Rich?" Bell replied. "No, books don't make you rich these days."

Bell insisted that she had not sought publicity after the breakup but that her "unmanageable" book agent, Aphrodite Jones, had pushed her, sometimes threatened her, to do interviews to promote her never-published book.

Arguedas also questioned Bell about her relationship with another key government witness, Bonds' former business manager and close friend, Steve Hoskins.

Defense lawyers have argued Bell and Hoskins conspired against Bonds after both had falling outs with the Giants star. Hoskins and Bell have testified that Bell borrowed money from Hoskins for a lawyer but deny that they plotted against Bonds.

Baseball players Jason Giambi, Jeremy Giambi and Randy Velarde are scheduled to testify later this week about receiving performance-enhancing drugs from Bonds' former trainer, Greg Anderson.

Anderson is currently in custody for refusing to testify in this case.