The defense took care of their opening statement in approximately an hour as Bonds’ attorney Allen Ruby brought a more “folksy” turn to his opening statement. Ruby addressed a variety of issues, but wanted to make sure the jury recognized that this was not about their personal feelings about Barry Bonds. Ruby emphasized that it didn’t matter whether they liked Bonds or not, or whether they thought he was a good guy. Rather, it was about the truth. He actually wrapped up his opening statement with a bit of a cliched statement about “the power of truth.”
The opening statement was really broken into two issues. The first was the ease with which Bonds could have been confused when testifying before the grand jury in 2003. Ruby explained some differences between steroids and anabolic steroids and performance-enhancing drugs. While the prosecution had trouble trying to clarify the differences, the murky nature of the subject actually benefits Bonds. If the jury decides it’s tough to tell what exactly they’re talking about when talking about anabolic steroids and regular steroids and PEDs and so forth, a reasonable doubt could form as to whether Bonds was confused during his grand jury testimony.
The second issue of the opening statement was the credibility of the government witnesses. Ruby really hammered home the point that two of the government witnesses in particular have had an axe to grind. The witness Ruby went to town on was former Bonds friend Steve Hoskins. The plan is to show Hoskins as a friend of Bonds who eventually started stealing from him through use of counterfeit merchandise and signature forgery to enter business deals.
According to Ruby, Bonds wanted to end their relationship in a business-like manner, but Hoskins was not pleased at all and continued counterfeiting Bonds merchandise. The whole point will be to show that Hoskins has it in for Bonds and thus his credibility is lost.
Ruby made some brief comments about former Bonds girlfriend Kimberly Bell, but it sounds like he’s saving the juiciest stuff for cross examination. He rolled with the woman scorned angle, looking to show Bell as a bitter ex out for revenge. That really summed up the comments about Bell and Hoskins (wanting revenge, not woman scorned).
Seeing the jury react with some chuckles and close attention to Ruby has me thinking it’s an uphill battle for the government. They’ve got a lot of circumstantial evidence, but the defense has a great confusion defense. There’s a lot of time left in this trial, and a lot of witnesses and evidence, but my early prediction is Bonds walks.