Barry Bonds Defense Strategy - Flaxseed Oil and Arthritis Cream

I chose to post this article because of the defense strategy Bond's  counsel is employing to explain his conduct.  To paraphrase, they are saying, "Yes, Barry took steroids.  But, he thought he was taking Flaxseed Oil and Athritis cream instead of the 'cream' and the 'clear' that he was actually taking.  Thus, he didn't lie to the Grand Jury seven years ago when he said he never knowingly took steroids."  As the prosecution put it, it is "ridiculous and unbelievable" that an athlete of Bond's caliber would unwittingly take steroids because he thought they were Flaxseed Oil and Arthritis Cream. Adam W. Howell, Esquire

Below is the text of a Sporting News Article about the beginning of Barry Bonds Perjury Trial. 

Testimony began Tuesday in the federal perjury trial of all-time home run leader Barry Bonds, after the prosecution and defense sparred over whether Bonds knew he had taken performance-enhancing drugs during his career.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Matt Parrella, in his opening statement, called it “ridiculous and unbelievable” that Bonds thought he was taking flaxseed oil and arthritis cream, when his personal trainer gave him steroids.

Opening arguments began today in the Barry Bonds perjury trial. (AP Photo)

Bonds’ defense team objected to Parrella’s use of the phrase “ridiculous and unbelievable.”

Allen Ruby, Bonds' lead attorney, acknowledged in his opening statement that Bonds took two designer steroids known as the “cream” and the “clear,” but did so unwittingly.

Seven years ago, Bonds told a grand jury investigating sports doping that he did not ever knowingly take performance-enhancing drugs.

Bonds has pleaded not guilty to four counts of lying to a grand jury. Bonds also has pleaded not guilty to one count of obstruction. Each count carries a penalty of up to 10 years, but federal guidelines recommend a sentence of 15 to 21 months.

The government had promised not to prosecute him for drug use if he told the truth to the grand jury. Ruby said in his statement that “Barry answered every question. He told the truth. He did his best.”

Parrella tried to show a deep connection between the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (BALCO) and Bonds. BALCO was at the center of an international sports doping ring that the grand jury was investigating in 2003. Parrella later showed a photograph from a magazine of Bonds, BALCO founder Victor Conte and Bonds' former personal trainer and childhood friend, Greg Anderson, in which the prosecutor referred to the three men as the "Three Musketeers of BALCO." That remark drew an objection from Bonds' defense team.

Anderson, as he has done throughout Bonds' legal battle, refused to testify on Tuesday. U.S. District Susan Illston found Anderson in civil contempt and ordered him to be held in custody until he testifies or the trial ends. The trial could last up to four weeks..

Parrella stated that when it comes to admitting his own drug use, Bonds simply “couldn’t do it.” The prosecutor also promised in his opening statement that there will be witnesses who will discuss conversations they had with Bonds about his steroid use and that one witness will testify to watching Bonds inject steroids.

Ruby countered by trying to discredit some of the government's key witnesses, such as Bonds' former business partner Steve Hoskins and Bonds' ex-girlfriend Kimberly Bell, saying that both were "facing the loss of financial benefit that Barry provided to them over the years."

Lead investigator Jeff Novitzky was called to the witness stand after lunch. In his testimony, Novitzky recounted the start of his BALCO investigation and how he received a tip that led him to investigate the lab. He also spoke of how he would root through the lab's trash every Monday night for about a year and found incriminating evidence that tied BALCO and steroid use to famous athletes.

Prosecutors believe Anderson provided Bonds with PEDs and instructions on how to use the drugs. Anderson's refusal to testify has hindered the government's case against Bonds because the judge has ruled most of the evidence tied to Anderson as off limits.

Anderson has already spent more than a year in jail for refusing to testify in 2006 before the grand jury investigating Bonds. Anderson also served three months in prison after pleading guilty in 2005 to money laundering and steroid distribution.