Commentary

Who's who in the Bonds trial courtroom

Updated: March 18, 2011, 7:21 PM ET
By T.J. Quinn, Lester Munson and Mark Fainaru-Wada | ESPN.com

SAN FRANCISCO -- Can't discern the witnesses from the investigators from the attorneys from the judges from others in the Barry Bonds perjury trial without a lineup card? The defendant … well, you know him already.

So here is a who's who, in alphabetical order, of Case No. 3:07-CR-00732 pending in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California: USA v. Bonds:

GREG ANDERSON: Bonds' childhood friend who later became his personal trainer and, according to the government, provided steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs to the home run king. Anderson will be the elephant in the room at the trial, looming large in absence. After serving three months in prison for his role in the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative steroids conspiracy, Anderson spent 14 months behind bars for refusing to testify about his relationship with Bonds. He is expected to again disregard a subpoena and thus be imprisoned for the duration of the trial. (Plus, he faces additional jail time if the government or the judge decides to pursue criminal contempt charges.) Without Anderson, the judge has ruled significant pieces of evidence inadmissible, most notably three positive steroids tests from 2000 and 2001 that the government says reflect Bonds' use of the steroids methenolone and nandrolone.

CRIS ARGUEDAS: A nationally recognized criminal defense lawyer, Arguedas started her career in California defending abused women, quickly became a star public defender in the federal courts and now is routinely listed as one of the top 10 defense lawyers in California. Along with Allen Ruby, Arguedas will lead Bonds' defense team. In his preparation for the O.J. Simpson murder trial in Los Angeles, Johnnie Cochran wondered whether Simpson should testify at the trial; Cochran selected Arguedas to do a private cross-examination of Simpson to test Simpson's abilities as a witness. After 2½ days of blistering questioning by Arguedas, Cochran knew that Simpson, despite his experience as an actor and pitchman, could not possibly testify. In her representation of former Oakland Raiders defensive tackle Darrell Russell during his trial on sexual assault charges, Arguedas' cross-examination of the accuser led the prosecutor to dismiss the case.

[+] EnlargeJason Giambi
Jim McIsaac/Getty ImagesJason Giambi spoke to the media about his steroid use on Feb. 10, 2005 at Yankee Stadium.

THE BALLPLAYERS: The government has said it will call any or all of the following: Jason Giambi, five-time All-Star and former American League MVP; Jeremy Giambi, Jason's brother who also played for the A's; retired catcher Benito Santiago; retired Giants outfielder Marvin Benard; retired outfielder Armando Rios and retired utility player Randy Velarde. All are expected to testify they received "the cream" and "the clear" from BALCO, as well as other substances in some cases, and that they were told they were using steroids or derivatives of steroids that would not show up during testing. The government wants to establish that it was common practice for the players to be informed that they were doping, thereby undermining Bonds' argument that he didn't know what he was taking.

KIM BELL: Bonds' former girlfriend, she was with the slugger from 1994 until their breakup in 2003. Bell will testify that in 2000, Bonds admitted to her he was using steroids, saying the drugs were common in the sport. Bell also detailed for a grand jury physical and emotional changes she believed were tied to his use of steroids, including loss of hair, acne and heavy mood swings. She also described changes in Bonds' sexual performance and claimed he suffered from testicular atrophy. The defense will portray Bell as someone who was trying to extort money from Bonds -- she says he owed her for money lost on the purchase of a house in Arizona. The defense also is sure to note that she sought a book deal and ultimately posed nude for Playboy in October 2007.

DON CATLIN: The godfather of steroids testing, Catlin founded the UCLA Olympic Analytical Laboratory and has conducted hundreds of thousands of tests for the Olympics, the NFL and the NCAA. His techniques are the gold standard. After retiring from his testing lab, he now is researching drug issues at the Anti-Doping Sciences Institute. Catlin has been a consultant for investigator Jeff Novitzky throughout the process. Catlin was the first witness to testify before the BALCO grand jury; when he began his testimony, he choked up, recognizing the BALCO investigation as the culmination of 20 years of effort. Lawyers who have presented Catlin, 72, as an expert witness agree that he is effective with juries in his explanation of detecting the use of steroids.

[+] EnlargeDon Catlin
AP Photo/Reed SaxonThe prosecution will rely heavily on Don Catlin's scientific testimony about steroids and testing.

STAN CONTE: Former San Francisco Giants team trainer, now with the Los Angeles Dodgers. No relation to BALCO founder Victor Conte. Will be called to testify about potentially incriminating conversations he had with Bonds, as well as changes he saw in Bonds' body during the period in which Bonds is alleged to have doped. He also will testify about Bonds' relationships with longtime friends Steve Hoskins and Greg Anderson.

VICTOR CONTE: BALCO mastermind. Conte, a former musician who essentially taught himself biochemistry, took the stealth steroid "the clear" and paired it with his own testosterone product called "the cream" to help athletes evade drug testing. He spent three months in prison for his part in the steroids-trafficking scandal and has denied ever providing drugs to Bonds. He won't be at the trial, but his presence will be felt throughout. No relation to Stan Conte.

BOBBY ESTALELLA: Former journeyman catcher who spent 2001 and part of 2002 with the Giants. Estalella originally testified in front of a grand jury that he had received drugs from BALCO but that he had not discussed steroids use with other players. The government has indicated Estalella will testify that he had conversations with Bonds about their steroids use.

NICOLE GESTAS and MADELEINE GESTAS: Greg Anderson's wife and mother-in-law, respectively. They, too, have been under pressure from the government. Nicole has been told she is the target of a federal tax probe; Madeleine's home was raided not long before the Bonds case was set to go to trial two years ago, also purportedly in the context of a tax case. However, most observers believe it's clear the government has been trying to leverage pressure on Nicole and Madeleine to persuade Anderson to talk.

KATHY HOSKINS: The sister of Bonds' former business manager, Steve Hoskins, she served for a time as Bonds' personal assistant. At trial, she is expected to be the lone prosecution witness who will testify about watching Greg Anderson inject Bonds. She doesn't necessarily know what substance was being injected, but one of the five counts against Bonds stems from his denial that anyone other than his personal physician gave him injections.

STEVE HOSKINS: Another childhood friend of Bonds who later went to work for him. The sons of two professional athletes who were close friends -- former 49ers defensive lineman Bob Hoskins and former Giants standout Bobby Bonds -- Steve Hoskins and Barry Bonds were extremely close until their friendship fractured in the spring of 2003. Hoskins was Bonds' business manager and is expected to testify at trial about discussions the two men had regarding the ballplayer's steroids use. Hoskins also secretly recorded Greg Anderson in the Giants' clubhouse at Pac Bell Park; it is believed that on the recording Anderson describes providing Bonds with an undetectable steroid. The defense will suggest Hoskins was stealing from Bonds and that he made the recording in preparation to blackmail his former pal.

[+] EnlargeVictor Conte
David Paul Morris/Getty ImagesVictor Conte's BALCO is where it all began. But the trial will end without a Conte appearance on the witness stand.

U.S. DISTRICT COURT JUDGE SUSAN ILLSTON: Illston was appointed to the federal bench in 1995 by then-President Bill Clinton. Before she became a judge, she was a partner in a firm now known as Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy, a powerhouse in litigation and Democratic politics. The firm is located in Burlingame, Calif., not far from the strip mall where Victor Conte opened BALCO and operated it for 20 years. Illston and her firm represented the NFL in litigation with former Patriots owner Billy Sullivan and Raiders owner Al Davis. NFL officials recall Illston as an excellent lawyer who was well prepared and fearless. Like many federal judges in Northern California, she is tough on federal prosecutors and is known to be concerned with the rights of those accused of federal crimes.

JEFF NEDROW: Assistant U.S. attorney. The charges against Bonds are the direct result of Nedrow's interrogation of Bonds before a federal grand jury Dec. 4, 2003. Nedrow's questions weren't considered models of prosecutorial precision, but Bonds made things difficult for his interrogator, too, taunting Nedrow and responding with non sequiturs about his money and his father's cancer. At one point, when asked a roundabout question about what Greg Anderson had provided him, Bonds' rambling answer to Nedrow ended with, "Whatever, dude." At another point, he told Nedrow that Anderson was using abbreviations in his drug records because "maybe he ran out of paper." Nedrow is an affable professional who is well liked by opposing lawyers. Nedrow and Matthew Parrella will be the prosecution's two primary lawyers at the trial.

JEFF NOVITZKY: The former IRS agent (now with the FDA) who sparked the BALCO investigation. Tall, thin and bald, always easy to spot in a crowd, Novitzky led the September 2003 raids on BALCO and Greg Anderson's home, then moved on to make trainers Kirk Radomski and Brian McNamee famous as his investigation continued. Now he has turned his attention to Lance Armstrong. Defense attorneys have complained that Novitzky filed false statements about his raids, but a motion to dismiss the BALCO case on those grounds was denied. Former MLB pitcher Jason Grimsley and Victor Conte both said Novitzky attributed statements to them that they never made. The investigations have held up, however, and prosecutors credit Novitzky with changing the national debate about doping through his work.

MATTHEW PARRELLA: Assistant U.S. attorney. A seasoned prosecutor who can be a bulldog in the courtroom, Parrella will lead the government's team in the trial. He's an effective trial advocate who successfully prosecuted difficult perjury charges against cyclist Tammy Thomas and track coach Trevor Graham. His military haircut is the target of comments from defense lawyers, not all of them good-natured. Parrella's hard edge and Judge Illston's unconcealed scorn for the prosecution could provide courtroom fireworks.

MICHAEL RAINS: A veteran criminal defense attorney who specializes in defending cops accused of misconduct, Rains was Bonds' attorney during the grand jury investigation and now might be a witness in the trial. Representing Bonds at the grand jury stage was a challenge. Rains knew Bonds was prone to pop off and to reply in non sequiturs, giving anyone listening the impression that he had something to hide. Rains insists he extracted a promise from the prosecutors that both he and Bonds would be able to view various documents seized in the BALCO raid before Bonds was interrogated in front of the grand jury. But on the day scheduled for Bonds' appearance before the grand jury, the prosecutors abruptly reneged on the promise, Rains says, refusing to allow a preview of the materials and forcing Bonds into what Rains called a "perjury trap." (The prosecutors have never commented on Rains' version of the story.) As a witness for Bonds at the trial, Rains would try to explain to the jury that the prosecutors, not Bonds, were deceitful.

[+] EnlargeMichael Rains
AP Photo/Noah BergerMichael Rains represented Bonds during grand jury testimony. Now he'll be a witness for him.

ALLEN RUBY: The first impressions are these: big guy, big voice, bad suit. But don't be fooled. Ruby, Bonds' lead trial lawyer, is one of the most formidable and successful trial attorneys in Northern California. The drama of the courtroom comes naturally to Ruby, who by age 17 was performing on his father's professional wrestling TV show in Detroit. The NFL, which has a remarkable ability to hire the finest attorneys, selected Ruby to defend the league against a billion-dollar lawsuit from Al Davis and the Oakland Raiders. Ruby succeeded brilliantly. Jeff Pash, the NFL's top lawyer, says, "Judges respect Allen's preparation and knowledge of the law, and his command of the facts earns him the trust of juries." If anyone can control the surly Bonds and present him to a jury in a favorable way, it is Ruby.

DR. ARTHUR TING: Bonds' personal physician, he has worked as an orthopedist for many top professional athletes. The government has indicated it will use Ting to describe physical changes in Bonds, as well as the ballplayer's interactions with Greg Anderson. It is unclear what, if any, personal knowledge Ting has about Bonds' use of steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs. If his testimony is damaging to Bonds, expect the defense to highlight Ting's run-ins with the state medical board, as well as an incident in which he was accused of assaulting another physician.

JIM VALENTE: For 20 years, Valente was Victor Conte's right-hand man at BALCO, and his wife, Joyce, served as BALCO's office manager. Before joining Conte at BALCO, Valente worked as a dry cleaner and in a grocery store. At BALCO, Valente was the contact point for Greg Anderson, delivering drugs and invoices to him and changing the names on blood and urine samples in an effort to protect Bonds. Valente had told agents he conversed with Bonds about Bonds' use of "the cream" and "the clear." In return for an agreement to testify against others accused in the BALCO investigation, Valente avoided jail and served three years on probation.

Mark Fainaru-Wada, co-author of "Game of Shadows," and T.J. Quinn are reporters for ESPN. Lester Munson, a Chicago lawyer and journalist who reports on investigative and legal issues in the sports industry, is a senior writer for ESPN.com. Fainaru-Wada can be reached at markfwespn@gmail.com. Quinn can be reached at tjquinn31@yahoo.com.