SAN FRANCISCO • Kimberly Bell, who had a nine-year relationship with Barry Bonds, testified that the greatest hitter of his era told her he had used steroids. Bonds' federal perjury trial resumed Monday with nearly daylong testimony from his former mistress, who said the slugger attributed an elbow injury in 1999 to steroids use.
Prosecutors allege Bonds lied when he told a federal grand jury in 2003 that he never knowingly used performance-enhancing drugs. Under questioning from Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey D. Nedrow, Bell said Bonds told her "he didn't shoot it up every day like body builders did."
She said he only told her about his steroids use and that she never pressed him about it because he told her it was common in baseball.
"That's how they were getting ahead, that's how they were achieving, by using steroids," she quoted Bonds as saying. She went on to say this was the period "when Mark McGwire was breaking records." McGwire, now the Cardinals' hitting coach, admitted last year that he used performance-enhancing substances while he was a player.
Bell described the conversation with Bonds about steroids.
"He had an injury on his elbow and it was a big lump on his elbow," she said. "It looked really awful, and he said it was because of steroids. ... Somehow it caused the muscle and the tendons to grow faster than the joint itself could handle."
She also discussed how Bonds became verbally abusive and said that his physique changed, offering a lurid description of his shrinking testicles, declining sexual performance, back acne and scalp hair that fell out. Such mental and physical symptoms are associated with steroid use.
Bell met Bonds in 1994 and she testified that from 1999-2001, "he was just increasingly aggressive, irritable, agitated, very impatient." She also said he threatened "to cut my head off and leave me in a ditch, more than once," and said Bonds said "he would cut out my breast implants because he paid for them."
As for the Arizona house he had helped pay for, "He told me he would burn it down."
In testimony similar to that last week of former Bonds business partner Steve Hoskins, she said that in at least two different years at spring training, she saw Bonds and personal trainer Greg Anderson "go into a bedroom ... and close and lock the door." She said Anderson "would always have a little satchel with him." She saw those scenes multiple times.
Prosecutors claim Anderson, who has been jailed for refusing to testify, repeatedly injected Bonds with performance-enhancing drugs.
Bell was pressured during 4 hours, 15 minutes of questioning from the defense, which tried to portray her as a gold digger, a scorned ex-lover, a liar and the instigator of a mortgage fraud scheme. Defense lawyer Cristina Arguedas brought up an interview Bell gave Playboy and a TV appearance with Geraldo Rivera.
"You have taken many opportunities to disparage Barry Bonds ... in the most vulgar ways possible?" Arguedas said in a question that was more a statement.
At the start of the day, Giants equipment manager Mike Murphy testified that Bonds' hat size increased from 7¼ to 7 3-8 in 2002. Murphy said that while Willie Mays and Willie McCovey needed larger hats, their increases did not happen until after they had retired as players.
Bell also testified that after Bonds got married to another woman, he told her there were "girlfriend cities and wife cities" and that she wasn't allowed to travel with him to New York, Montreal and Atlanta. Bell said she went instead to San Diego, Houston and Miami.
Former Giants head trainer Stan Conte is to testify today along with former AL MVP Jason Giambi and Randy Velarde, other players linked to the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative, which ran a steroids distribution ring.