Bonds' former childhood friend was pretty much obliterated on cross examination and did not look particularly solid on direct examination. He struggled with dates, names on audio and had just about every possible problem a witness could have in a trial. The government's case in the Barry Bonds perjury and obstruction of justice trial revolved in no small part around the testimony of Steve Hoskins. His testimony reflected a stuttering fool at times.
And yet, as Lester Munson points out, the damaging evidence is still out there in the form of that tape recording:
Throughout the third day of the trial, the words "steroids" and "syringe" and "human growth hormone" were repeated again and again. With the jurors watching, both sides spent the day talking and arguing about Bonds doing exactly what he told the grand jury he never did.
When you're on trial on charges of making false statements to the grand jury, this is the last thing you want to see. Quietly and relentlessly and with none of Ruby's flair, prosecutors Matthew Parrella and Jeff Nedrow are succeeding in placing Bonds in the middle of a world of performance-enhancing drugs.
As awful as Hoskins looked for much of yesterday, the audio is still there. The jury might question Hoskins motives as to why he recorded the conversation and why he waited to release it. However, it's hard to dispute what they hear on that tape. Bonds lead defense attorney Allen Ruby tried to prove there had been potential enhancements, but it does not sound like that was sufficiently proven. Without Greg Anderson's testimony this is as close as the government may get to proving some link between Bonds and steroids.
Of course, as always, it comes down to what the jury is willing to believe. Hoskins has little credibility, which the jury might reflect in everything he said or with which he is associated. Prior to yesterday I thought Bonds was going to walk with no convictions. Now, I could see a chance of conviction on one or two counts if Hoskins testimony can get even a little more support. Given the performance of the government thus far, that's no small task.