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Barry Bonds Trial 2011: Did Allen Ruby Cross Of Steve Hoskins Sink Government Case?

Day three of the Barry Bonds perjury and obstruction of justice trial is in the books and it could go down as the government's case against Barry Bonds took its biggest hit. The government brought out its key witness, former Bonds childhood friend Steve Hoskins. Today consisted of some brief cross-examination of former BALCO investigator Jeff Novitzky, but then involved closed five to six hours of direct and cross examination of Hoskins, with more cross coming tomorrow.

If Hoskins is actually telling the truth his information is quite damaging to Bonds. He spoke of Barry using him to find out information about steroids. He discussed the various financial dealings with Barry and his women. He also discussed Barry's relationship with Greg Anderson and had quite a bit of information about that. Normally the most damning piece of evidence would have been the recorded conversations Hoskins had with Anderson in which Anderson discussed steroids and other performance enhancing drugs in a variety of contexts. While it was mostly circumstantial, with a normal witness it might have been enough to slam home the government's case.

Unfortunately for the US Attorneys, Steve Hoskins is no ordinary witness. I won't say that he's an idiot, but he was an incredibly poor witness today. During direct examination he was often confused and came across in a stammering and indecisive manner. He couldn't remember a variety of key dates and just generally struggled. After lunch Hoskins was asked a variety of questions about the recorded conversation between himself and Anderson. You had to know it was going to be a long afternoon when at one point he was asked about a voice on the recording and to whom it belonged. Hoskins said it was Anderson's voice. Sorry Steve, it was your voice.

And this was all before Bonds' attorney, Allen Ruby, tore into him. I had to leave and couldn't stay for the cross examination, but from reading through twitter, it was not pretty. Ruby had little trouble working Hoskins into corners and getting him to admit contradictory information left, right, and center. Although the recording contained some damning information, the cross examination appeared to leave Hoskins with absolutely zero credibility. Check out George DohrmannMark Fainaru-Wada, and Gwen Knapp (among others) to get a sense of how ugly it got this afternoon. Without being there, the tweets alone show a witness run in circles by a defense attorney. I'd say a good defense attorney, but in this case it's possible a first year law student would have had little trouble with Hoskins.

In looking back at today's testimony, it's safe to say it was indicative of virtually the entire government case. One has to think the government prepped Hoskins leading up to trial. If they didn't it's a sign of more poor organization. And if they did it's just a sign of the fact that they have had no real chance coming into this thing. It's a lawyer's job to present the best possible case, and that did not take place today for the US Attorneys. I can't imagine a witness testifying in a much worse fashion. Odds that Bonds walks with no convictions have to have increased a sizable amount.

Tomorrow, Rubby will wrap up his cross-examination of Hoskins. After that, Giants clubhouse manager Mike Murphy and BALCO Laboratories Jim Valente are both expected on the stand. We'll be back tweeting live from courtroom 10 tomorrow morning. For more on the Barry Bonds Perjury and Obstruction of Justice Trial, check out our updated Trial story stream.