SAN FRANCISCO (CN) - Barry Bonds' ex-mistress told a jury on Wednesday about the baseball legend's violent outbursts and sexual dysfunction during the time he was allegedly abusing steroids. "He said he could cut out my breast implants because he'd paid for them," Kimberly Bell testified, adding that Bonds had told her he was taking anabolic steroids.
Though calm and articulate during a harrowing cross-examination, Kimberly Bell lost her cool once when telling Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeff Nedrow how Bonds had physically threatened and emotionally abused her from 1999 to 2000 - the same approximate timeframe Bonds allegedly abused steroids. Bell's testimony supports the government's charges that Bonds lied to a federal grand jury about his steroid use.
She said Bonds became "increasingly aggressive, irritable, agitated and very impatient" with her during the years in question, calling her constantly to question her whereabouts. Bonds often became enraged if Bell did not answer her phone, she said.
When Bonds called her, Bell said she would try to "dump her purse out" to retrieve her phone quickly. "I didn't want him to get angry," she said. "I didn't want him to yell at me."
Bell said Bonds often lost his temper with her and would threaten to kill her. "He said he'd cut my head off and leave me in a ditch," she said. "He said he could cut out my breast implants because he'd paid for them."
The Playboy model was not allowed to testify about a time he allegedly choked her for being late for a date, and federal prosecutors were prohibited from showing the jury furious voicemails that Bonds had left her.
Bell met Bonds after a baseball game in 1994 while she was sitting in the back seat of a parked car. Upon seeing Bell, Bonds had said, "Damn, girl, you're fine," his attorney, Cristina Arguedas, recounted during cross-examination.
Sitting in the courtroom with his defense team, Bonds laughed, and continued to smile as Arguedas grilled Bell on whether she had thought Bonds was handsome, smart and rich. Bell answered "handsome" and "rich" in the affirmative.
Bell was living in San Jose and working as a graphic designer at the beginning of her nine-year relationship with Bonds, which started during Bonds' marriage to his second wife, Elizabeth. About five years into the relationship, Bell said she witnessed Bonds retreat several times into a bedroom with his former trainer, Greg Anderson. "In the mornings we'd be eating breakfast and he [Greg Anderson] would come into the room. They'd go into a room off the kitchen and close and lock the door. He always had a little satchel."
She also testified that Bonds experienced a variety of physical changes. "His overall body grew dramatically," Bell said. "He developed acne on his upper shoulders and back. Hair was falling out quickly, and he ended up shaving it all off. The shape and size of his testicles were smaller and differently shaped, and he had some trouble keeping an erection." Bonds also confided in Bell about his anabolic steroid use, she said, and he allegedly told her that the injections caused him to injure his elbow.
"He said it caused the tendons and muscle to grow faster than the joint could handle, and it sort of blew out," Bell said. "He said he didn't shoot up every day like bodybuilders did. He said it wasn't something he did all the time. He mentioned that other players did it."
Around the time Mark McGwire was breaking home run records, Bonds also allegedly told Bell: "That's how they were getting ahead, how they were achieving - by doing steroids."
Bell's relationship with Bonds fell apart in 2003, and she said Bonds told her "to disappear." During a harrowing cross-examination, which was meant to undermine the credibility of her damaging testimony, Arguedas implied that Bell concocted the story out of desperation for cash when Bonds had refused to finish paying for a house he had bought Bell in 2002. "You saw two options: go straight to the National Enquirer, or write a book," Arguedas told Bell.
The defense attorney spent several hours grilling Bell on her relationship with former Fox News crime reporter Aphrodite Jones. The pair had plans to co-write a tell-all book about Bonds titled "In the Shadow of the Giant: My Nine Years With Barry Bonds."
Claiming that Jones was "unmanageable," and wanted to use her story for a made-for-TV movie and a box office picture, Bell said she had been exploited. Arguedas contended it was a shared vision and quoted from Bell's book proposal, which said: "The information in the book will attract attention and controversy."
Bell answered: "Aphrodite said she wanted to make the book about steroids and BALCO, and I didn't, and that's why she was unmanageable, and we parted ways."
Arguedas countered that the many television and radio interviews Bell did were "all about steroids." Bell argued that Aphrodite had pushed her into the interviews.