By all accounts it was high drama in the San Francisco courtroom on Monday when Kimberly Bell, Barry Bonds’ longtime ex-girlfriend, testified in his perjury case. To recap: Bonds is on trial for allegedly lying under oath about taking steroids in front of a grand jury. Bell was his girlfriend for nine years (BTW, he was married to two different women during that period of time) and she told the court yesterday that Bonds’ steroid use had some unintended side effects. To wit: “The shape, size of his testicles were smaller. He had some trouble keeping an erection.”
That alone would make for a sordid day in court, but far less amusing were Bell’s allegations that the steroids made Bonds behave aggressively. Bell says he was increasingly agitated, and that he once threatened her with beheading. Hmmm, ego-bloated, drug-addled star threatening his significant other with beheading. Where have we heard that before? That’s right, Charlie Sheen threatened estranged wife Brooke Mueller in the same way.
In fact, the way that Bonds’ lawyers are trying to discredit Bell-according to the New York Times they’re painting Bell as “a vindictive, attention-craving gold-digger who was upset about their breakup”-reminds me of the point that my old boss Anna Holmes made about Charlie Sheen’s many mates in her Times op-ed ” The Disposable Woman “: “A woman’s active embrace of the fame monster or participation in the sex industry, we seem to say, means that she compromises her right not to be assaulted, let alone humiliated, insulted or degraded; it’s part of the deal,” Holmes wrote. By emphasizing Bell’s posing for Playboy and her attempt to publish a book about her relationship with Bonds, Bonds’ lawyers are branding Bell as a disposable woman of the same variety.
It’s also worth noting (as the Daily News ’ Nathaniel Vinton points out ) that all the government witnesses except for Bell had been cross-examined by a male lawyer of Bonds’ named Allen Ruby. Only Bell was cross-examined by a woman-Cris Arguedas. Obviously Bonds’ team thought a woman had a better chance of discrediting Bell’s testimony. If one of your own is implying that you’re a gold digger, then it must be true!
Photograph of Barry Bonds by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images