SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Barry Bonds’s former mistress said in court on Monday that the baseball star’s testicles changed shape and he often became enraged with her, which prosecutors say is evidence that Bond used steroids.
Kimberly Bell told the U.S. District Court in San Francisco that Bonds suffered from impotence, hair loss and acne. He admitted he was using steroids when she quizzed him about an elbow injury he was trying to overcome, she said.
“He said it was because of the steroids, because it somehow caused the muscle and tendons to grow faster than the joint could handle, it sort of blew out,” she testified.
After he began using the steroids, Bonds’ testicles took on an “unusual shape,” Bell said. “He had trouble keeping an erection,” she said.
Bonds has pleaded not guilty to charges he lied to a grand jury about whether he knowingly used steroids. His case is the latest in a lengthy U.S. investigation into the use of performance-enhancing drugs in sports.
The charges stem from his 2003 appearance before a U.S. grand jury investigating the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative, or BALCO, whose head has pleaded guilty to dispensing steroids to professional athletes.
Bonds told the grand jury he did not knowingly use steroids or growth hormones and said he never questioned the flaxseed oil, vitamins, protein shakes and creams his trainer, Greg Anderson, supplied him.
Bell testified that Bonds became increasingly irritable, and he repeatedly threatened to “cut off my head and leave me in a ditch.” The former San Francisco Giants star also threatened to “tear out my breast implants because he had paid for them,” she added, her voice breaking.
Prosecutors say the Bonds, 46, showed increased rage and bodily changes that are associated with steroid use.
Bonds took notes and whispered to one of his attorneys as Bell, dressed in a light gray pants suit, discussed their stormy relationship.
From 1999 to 2001, after he began using steroids, “he was just increasingly aggressive, irritable, agitated, very impatient, almost violent,” Bell said. “It was emotional and verbal to at one point physical.”
Finally in 2003, he told her to “disappear.” She didn’t see him again until she came to court Monday, said Bell.
They had met in 1994 when he was divorcing his first wife, she said. In 2002 he put down $60,000 toward a house for her in Scottsdale, Arizona, Bell said.
After hiring a lawyer who unsuccessfully demanded more money to pay for the house, Bell said she began giving media interviews about the relationship, including to Playboy magazine, for which she posed nude.
In cross examination, Bonds’ attorney Cristina Arguedas pressed Bell on the number of interviews she had given, and whether she cried during them. She asked Bell if she had given the interviews as a way of retaliating after Bonds dumped her, and why she signed a deal to write a book.
“You were hoping to get rich on this book, weren’t you?” Arguedas asked.
Bell said she had no hopes of becoming rich from the book. She did the Playboy interview because she had no income after leaving her job to move into the Scottsdale home, and her agent absconded with the money and later hanged himself, she said.
Arguedas also asked Bell about her knowledge of other mistresses Bonds had in New York and Las Vegas, and questioned how he could have satisfied these women if he was suffering from “problems with his penis.”
As a member of the San Francisco Giants, Bonds established a series of landmark batting records, but his performances aroused suspicions.
In 2001, he hit 73 home runs, a single-season record that still stands. In 2007, his last season in Major League Baseball, he broke Hank Aaron’s 33-year-old record of 755 career home runs.
Editing by Julian Linden and Philip Barbara
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