Barry Bonds' conviction upheld

Barry Bonds' obstruction of justice conviction was upheld Friday by a federal judge, who denied the former baseball star's motion for a new trial or acquittal on the charge.

A day after hearing oral arguments, U.S. District Judge Susan Illston in San Francisco issued a 20-page order refusing to overturn the only unanimous decision reached by the jury in her courtroom last April 13.

Jurors failed to reach a verdict on three counts charging the seven-time NL MVP with making false statements to a grand jury in 2003 when he denied receiving steroids and human growth hormone from trainer Greg Anderson, and when he said he allowed only doctors to inject him. Bonds was convicted of giving an evasive, rambling reply when asked whether he received drugs that required a syringe.

"Viewed in the light most favorable to the government, the record supports a finding, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the question was material to the grand jury's investigation of BALCO and Greg Anderson for unlawfully distributing performance enhancing drugs, and that defendant endeavored to obstruct the grand jury by not answering it when it was first asked," Illston wrote. "The conviction can be upheld if (the) defendant endeavored to obstruct justice, even if he did not succeed."

Bonds is likely to appeal Illston's decision to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Prosecutors have not yet said whether they plan to retry him on the three deadlocked counts.

"I haven't spoken to Barry yet and therefore won't have any reaction statement tonight," Bonds' lead lawyer, Allen Ruby, said in an email to The Associated Press.

Illston's ruling marked a victory for federal prosecutors, who have been involved in two cases this year against former baseball stars accused of lying about the use of performance-enhancing drugs. In a Washington, D.C., court room in July, U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton ordered a mistrial in the case against Roger Clemens, saying prosecutors introduced evidence he had banned as prejudicial.

Bonds was among the biggest stars convicted as a result of an investigation into the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (BALCO) steroids ring, a probe headed by federal agent Jeff Novitzky. Novitzky also is at the forefront of a different grand jury investigation into whether seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong used drugs to get an illicit boost in his victories.

Following a 12-day trial and on the fourth day of deliberations, the Bonds jury unanimously voted that the slugger gave the grand jury an evasive answer under oath. Rather than say "yes" or "no" to the question about receiving drugs that required a syringe, Bonds responded, in part, "I became a celebrity child with a famous father."

Share This Story