SAN FRANCISCO -- Barry Bonds' penchant for turning longtime friends into bitter enemies might come back to hurt him in at least two significant ways at trial.
First, there's Steve Hoskins. He was once Bonds' closest friend and served as best man at the slugger's first wedding.
Then there's Kimberly Bell, the home run king's girlfriend of 10 years, who dated him even after his first wedding. In fact, Hoskins' sister introduced Bell to Bonds after a San Francisco Giants game in 1994.
Each had a nasty falling out with the notoriously prickly slugger, and each now is expected to be a key witness for the prosecution if Bonds goes to trial for perjury and obstruction of justice. He was indicted last week for allegedly lying when he told a federal grand jury he never knowingly used performance enhancing drugs, and likely is to face prison time if convicted.
Hoskins and Bell each claim to have firsthand knowledge of Bonds' steroid use, making them extremely valuable witnesses. Yet both also are vulnerable to attack by Bonds' lawyers because of their severed relationships with the former Giants star and their own personal problems.
"If they were standing alone, their credibility would present a big problem for the prosecution," said Peter Keane, law professor at Golden Gate University in San Francisco. "But the problem for Bonds is the collective amount of all this stuff the prosecution appears to have: the change in his body, the lab results. All of these things taken together make for a significant prosecution case against Bonds."