Sides dispute witness' tape at Bonds trial

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SAN FRANCISCO --- Prosecutors in the federal case against Barry Bonds say a key witness has rediscovered the tape of a secretly recorded conversation with the slugger's doctor, sparking a fight between the government and defense lawyers over whether the new material can be included at a trial years in the making.

On a day when there was no testimony because a juror was ill, the government said Monday that former Bonds business partner Steve Hoskins found a cassette recording of his conversation with Dr. Arthur Ting.

Prosecutors, hoping to counter Ting's testimony last week that he never discussed Bonds' alleged steroid use with Hoskins -- who insisted they had -- said both men might be recalled to the witness stand.

"This will never come into evidence," Bonds' lead lawyer, Allen Ruby, told U.S. District Judge Susan Illston.

The trial began March 21, and prosecutors had planned to rest their case Monday with Dr. Don Catlin, former head of the UCLA Olympic Analytical Laboratory. But they now plan to call three lab workers. That, plus the new evidence, makes it likely the case won't go to the jury before next week.

Hoskins, the government's second witness, testified he recorded a conversation with Ting discussing Bonds and steroids in 2003 or 2004, after federal agents raided the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (BALCO).

Ting testified last week that he had only one, general conversation with Hoskins about steroids and he denied Hoskins' testimony that the two had as many as 50 discussions about Bonds and performance-enhancing drugs.

Hoskins, a childhood friend of Bonds, testified that he had recorded a conversation with Ting but the recording had been lost. Prosecutors said he located it last weekend.

"He found (it) on the B side -- this is a microcassette," Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Parrella said. "He located a tape of himself discussing with Dr. Ting soon after the BALCO search warrants were executed."

Defense lawyer Cristina Arguedas said the recording had been subject to a grand jury subpoena in 2005 and asked why it hadn't been turned over sooner.

The defense planned to send the microcassette, along with the recorder and a government representative, to its expert lab.


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