Did prosecutor's strong close swing Bonds trial?

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Did prosecutor's strong close swing Bonds trial?

April 9,2011

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Prosecutors were down to their last chance, and possibly losing the case.

Several apparent setbacks, culminating with the disastrous testimony of one of their main witnesses, had created a consensus that most if not all of the Barry Bonds perjury case had slipped through the government's fingers after nearly three weeks of trial.

Then Assistant U.S. Attorney Matt Parrella took to the lectern Thursday to deliver the government's final word through his closing argument.

"There's a real irony to this case," Parrella said minutes before the judge turned the case over the jury for deliberations.

His simple pitch: Do you believe that a professional athlete of Bonds' caliber would gullibly take unknown creams and liquids supplied by a sometimes homeless gym rat his personal trainer Greg Anderson?

Bonds faces three charges of lying to a grand jury in 2003 by denying he knowingly took steroids and human growth hormone from Anderson and by saying no one other than his doctors injected him with anything. He also faces an obstruction of justice count.

The jury deliberated all day Friday and will start work again Monday.

If the panel of eight women and four men convict Bonds, legal analysts and courtroom observers said Parrella's closing argument could very well have secured the deal for the government.

"He did a good job of conveying to the jury the evidence it needed to consider," said Golden Gate University law professor Peter Keane. "He gave a very simply explanation."

Keane and others also said Parrella made big strides in containing the considerable damage Dr. Arthur Ting appeared to cause the government's case after prosecutors called him to the witness stand March 31.

Ting, Bonds' orthopedic surgeon, contradicted the key government testimony of Steve Hoskins, Bonds' former business partner and estranged childhood friend. Hoskins spent two days on the witness stand during the first week of the trial.

Hoskins testified that he and Ting had as many as 50 conversations about Bonds and steroids. Ting denied having any such conversations, including telling Hoskins that Bonds' 1999 elbow injury was caused by steroids. That testimony surprised prosecutors, who were derided for calling Ting to the witness stand. The momentum of the trial shifted dramatically in favor of Bonds.

"There's an old law school maxim that you never ask a question that you don't know the answer to," said Stanford University Law School professor William Gould. "I will forever remain perplexed by the calling of Dr. Ting. I don't understand what they were thinking."

Ting did testify that in 1999 he gave Hoskins five pages of a scientific article discussing the effects and dangers of steroids. The section titled "tendon injury" was highlighted in yellow and Hoskins said he showed the article to Bonds.

"Now Dr. Ting was called by the government, OK, and the reason he was called is because the government had nothing to hide," Parrella told the jury Thursday. "We had relevant evidence that we needed from him and we put him on. We weren't afraid to put him on. We have nothing to hide."

Parrella told the jury that prosecutors felt the scientific article was important evidence and that's why they called Ting, who has operated on numerous professional athletes, including former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Joe Montana.

Ting smiled at Bonds' mother and shook the hand of one of the slugger's entourage when he finished testifying.

Parrella speculated before the jury that Ting was "a celebrity doctor trying to soften the blow for a celebrity crime."

Legal observers said Parrella's closing argument helped swing the momentum back toward the government. They also said that Parrella kept his 51-minute closing argument simple and clear, and didn't try to talk around the government's obvious problems with less-than-sympathetic witnesses such as Bonds' former mistress.

"In conclusion," Parrella told the jury, "there's a real irony to this case and it's that these substances that the defendant took to make himself strong, he wasn't strong, he was weak. He went to the grand jury too weak to tell the truth despite all the anabolic steroids."

Casspi thanks Kings after trade to Pelicans: 'Definitely isn't easy'

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USATSI

Casspi thanks Kings after trade to Pelicans: 'Definitely isn't easy'

The Kings traded Omri Casspi to the New Orleans Pelicans on Monday, prompting the forward to post a heartfelt message on his Instagram account.

I want to thank the Sacramento Kings organization for the opportunity to play basketball in front of the great fans of Sacramento. My wife and I felt in Sacramento like being home and this is something we both will cherish for ever. This definitely isn't easy for me and my family to leave, and you all know how much I love our city, organization and fans but the time has come. I want to wish nothing but success to my Kings. I will definitely will follow and cheer from afar. 
Always a big part of my heart, 
Omri #18

Casspi, 28, averaged 5.9 points, 4.1 rebounds and 18 minutes per game for the Kings this year.

A's spring training Day 7: Rosales readies himself everywhere

A's spring training Day 7: Rosales readies himself everywhere

MESA, Ariz. — Adam Rosales has a real simple plan for which infield position he chooses to try to get work at.

“Wherever there’s less guys, I go over there,” he explained with a smile.

The sun came out and the A’s finally got on the field for their first full-squad workout Monday after being rained out Sunday. That meant Rosales, back for his second go-round as an Athletic, got his first chance to prepare for what figures to be a super-utility role, which is how he’s carved out a nine-year major league career.

All indications are that he’ll be the primary backup infielder, capable of spelling Jed Lowrie at second base, Marcus Semien at shortstop, Trevor Plouffe at third and even fill in at first base or left field in a pinch.

Though Rosales, who spent 2010-12 with Oakland and re-signed in January on a one-year $1.25 million deal, is well-versed in preparing himself all over the diamond, one position in particular is one that he says is most difficult to master in limited time.

“Shortstop,” he offered without hesitation. “There’s a lot more going on there, a lot less room for error. At shortstop, especially with a guy like Mike Trout running, you’ve got to be in good rhythm, good timing, get rid of the ball and make an accurate throw.”

Depending on how the A’s prioritize their 25-man roster, Rosales could very well be the only backup infielder. That means fellow infielders Joey Wendle and Chad Pinder would start in the minors if the A’s were to keep a fifth outfielder or third catcher. But because the A’s have some players who can fill in at multiple spots, there’s numerous ways they can choose to configure the roster when it comes time to pare it down.

Rosales, 33, said walking back into the A’s clubhouse for the first time made him “feel like I’m back home.” So much of the support staff — equipment guys, clubhouse guys — are the same as when he was here before. He was also happy to see former infield mate Mark Ellis walk through the door Sunday. He says Ellis, a teammate from 2010-11, instilled in him the importance of being a great defender. Ellis is working as a part-time spring instructor.

“He told me, the No. 1 reason he was in the big leagues was because of this,” Rosales said, holding up his glove. “I was such a young player then. I’d always work with him, how to turn double plays. Just to have him around is awesome.”

NOTEWORTHY: Sonny Gray and Kendall Graveman were among the pitchers who faced hitters for the first time this season. Bruce Maxwell caught Gray, his first time behind the plate with Gray other than the one inning Gray threw in an abbreviated start at Anaheim toward the end of last season. Maxwell said Gray’s changeup in particular looked good.

Manager Bob Melvin has been very impressed early on with Graveman’s command. Graveman said he’s trying to improve his changeup, in an effort to induce weak contact from righties and get them on the their front foot, which could then make him more effective on the inside corner.

CAMP BATTLE: There could be a good fight for the seventh and final spot in the bullpen, and it would seem being left-handed could give someone an edge. Sean Doolittle is the only lefty currently projected among the A’s top six relievers. Melvin had good things to say about Daniel Coulombe, a lefty who made 35 appearances in relief last year and also saw a bit of time with Oakland in 2015. Coulombe posted a 4.53 ERA last season but struck out 54 in 47 2/3 innings.