Velarde: Bonds' personal trainer gave me drugs


Barry Bonds' mother comes to the trial every day and sits in the front row, which is reserved for his family and friends. She brings a pillow with her. She, like the rest of us, has learned that the courtroom bench-style seats are really hard on the backside after just a short time. She's a regular, but also every day, there are new guests in the front row. Bonds often moves from his place at the defense table to greet someone with a warm hug, vigorous handshake and big smile.

It was jarring this morning to look up and see Bonds studying a document with reading glasses perched on the end of his nose. Hard to imagine the homerun king having anything but perfect vision, better to see that ball.

Unlike the gallery, the jury has plush, comfy seats complete with their own personal screens to view exhibits projected on a larger screen in the courtroom. The screens are reminiscent of those on the backs of airplane seats, only bigger, and not attached to the seats. From the audience, one can't see the screens - when jurors are looking at them, it appears they are all napping, with bowed heads and eyes cast downward.

For the non-sports fan, identifying the MLB witnesses coming into the federal building can be challenging. They're not in uniform, after all; and when in a suit, really the only defining feature is size. Otherwise they could be any of the many lawyers, FBI, TSA, IRS, or DEA agents and civilians who work here. The man in a dark suit, white shirt and orange tie behind me in the security line this morning was carrying a gym bag -- that should have been the big clue -- but my only thought was 'Wow, that lawyer's pretty buff , he must go to the gym every day before work.' Well duh it was Velarde, who testified about his multiple parking lot rendezvous with Bonds' former trainer Greg Anderson during 2002 spring training.

At those meetings, he says Anderson gave Velarde HGH injections in the arm. Velarde testified he injected himself in the abdomen with another liquid. He also testified that he doesn't like needles. Four MLB players, past or present, have testified so far. It's not been a direct part of their testimony, but one takes away the very clear feeling of their desperation to get ahead during their careers. Marvin Benard testified he was taking a veterinary-grade steroid before meeting Anderson and Velarde, facing down his needle fear, in parking lot sessions with Anderson.

The defense team keeps asking the players if any of the prosecutors have asked them (in pre-trial meetings or at the grand jury), "Is there an achievement in your career of which you are most proud?" For now it's a mystery why, but the theory among reporters is that Bonds might have been asked that question in his 2003 grand jury session. If he turns out to be the only one, that could support a defense theory that he was singled out for prosecution.

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