Prosecution: Voicemails show 'roid rage

Updated: March 17, 2011, 12:33 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

SAN FRANCISCO -- Federal prosecutors on Wednesday released transcripts and recordings of voicemail messages Barry Bonds left for his former mistress during their nine-year relationship.

They don't portray Bonds in a flattering light.

Most of the messages show Bonds angrily inquiring after Kimberly Bell's whereabouts. Prosecutors say the recordings and transcripts are evidence of Bonds' steroid use because the drugs supposedly induce rage in some users.

With the perjury trial scheduled to begin with jury selection on Monday, attorneys for the government filed their latest proposed questionnaire for prospective jurors -- a 19-page document they hope will ensure that no overzealous Bonds and/or Giants fans make their way onto the jury.

Beyond general information, the questionnaire gauges whether the prospective jurors follow sports, how they get their news about sports, what they know about the BALCO steroids case, whether they're baseball fans and their views on the government being involved in investigating steroids in sports.

The prospective jurors, who are scheduled to fill out the forms Thursday, will be asked if they have attended a San Francisco Giants game in the past five years, and, if so, how many; whether they are familiar with the Mitchell Report; and what they know about the Congressional hearings held on steroid use.

They also are asked: "Do you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of Barry Bonds?"

While both sides have agreed to the wording of the questionnaire, they are sharply divided over whether the jury should hear the recordings Bonds left for Bell. Prosecutors want to play 11 of the voicemails for the panel.

Bell also is scheduled to testify that her relationship with Bonds was a stormy one marked by the slugger's increasing verbal abuse. She also will tell the jury of physical changes she witnessed Bonds go through, such as male pattern baldness that prosecutors attribute to steroid use.

Bonds' attorneys are seeking to exclude the recordings. They argue the material is irrelevant because there is no mention of peformance-enhancing drug use.

"However lamentable the fact may be, the use of profane and angry language between paramours is an everyday occurrence," defense lawyer Dennis Riordan wrote in a filing with the court.

Riordan said he would argue for inclusion of all voicemails Bell recorded and kept. Riordan hinted that if the voicemails were allowed at trial the defense would argue that Bell's sexual history, rather than steroids, was "the cause of any emotionally fraught language on the recordings."

Prosecutors last week released transcripts of the 11 voicemails they hope to play for the jury and additional voicemails Wednesday "for the court's convenience in light of the briefing on this matter."

Prosecutors don't provide dates of the messages. Bonds and Bell dated from 1994 to 2003.

A few of the recordings showed a playful and caring Bonds calling Bell his "little spark plug" who brings "a lot of bright stuff to my life." He leaves several similar messages around a Valentine's Day.

"Hello? I'm working out right now, but I'm calling you to wish you a happy, happy, happy, happy Valentine's, 'cause you worth all that and all them wishes. Love to you baby, peace."

Another shows him complaining about his inability to drop by her apartment because his Porsche broke down and his wife and children need the other car, a Mercedes.

"Just chill and I'll catch up with you," he says.

But many others are darker and abusive. He calls her a "slut" in one, and uses more graphic language in others.

"You better reach out and page me once in a while or you're up to something other than that," he says in one of the few angry voicemails devoid of profanity. "Girl, I ain't playing."

Bonds also, at one point, admonishes Bell: "don't forget to erase your messages, later."

ESPN's Mark Fainaru-Wada and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

ALSO SEE