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Barry Bonds' Felony Conviction to be Reconsidered

Jul 1 2014, 9:32pm CDT | by , in News | Latest Sports News

Retired San Francisco Giants slugger Barry Bonds' felony conviction for giving evasive testimony on steroid use will be reconsidered by a federal appeals court, per multiple reports.

Barry Bonds' Felony Conviction to be Reconsidered
Photo Credit: Getty Images
 
 

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Barry Bonds' Felony Conviction to be Reconsidered

Barry Bonds' Felony Conviction to be Reconsidered
Photo Credit: Getty Images

Retired San Francisco Giants slugger Barry Bonds' felony conviction for giving evasive testimony on steroid use will be reconsidered by a federal appeals court, per multiple reports. 

SFGate.com's Bob Egelko wrote about the development in his July 1 report

"A federal appeals court agreed Tuesday to reconsider Barry Bonds' felony obstruction-of-justice conviction for giving a rambling and inconclusive answer to a federal grand jury that was investigating steroid use in baseball

"The action by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco gives Bonds another chance to clear his record, if not his name. Baseball's all-time home run leader was the central figure in a steroid scandal that tarnished some of its brightest stars -- Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa and Roger Clemens -- and forced club owners and players to increase drug testing. 

"A three-judge appeals court panel had voted in September to uphold Bonds' conviction, saying he had given evasive testimony that was intended to throw the grand jury investigation off course. 

"But the full appeals court said Tuesday that a majority of its 28 participating judges had voted to grant Bonds' request for a new hearing before an 11-judge panel. 

"Bonds was sentenced to 30 days of house arrest for his conviction and volunteered to serve that term, which he has completed, while his current appeal was pending. He was also ordered to perform 250 hours of community service and pay in $4,100 in fines and court costs. 

"Defense lawyer Dennis Riordan issued a statement saying the court's order showed that a majority of its judges 'have concluded that the issues raised by Mr. Bonds' appeal...deserve greater consideration than they were given by the three-judge panel.'

"William Gould, a Stanford law professor and author of a book on labor relations in baseball, put it more strongly. 

"'There's obviously something in this record in this record that's troubling a very substantial number of judges,' said Gould, who is not connected to the case. 

"If Bonds is exonerated of criminal charges,'I don't think it'll ever clear his reputation, but I think it will allow baseball and the Giants to accept him back with fairly open arms,' Gould said. Bonds, the Giants' one-time star outfielder, returned to the team this preseason as a part-time hitting coach. 

"A hearing will be held in mid-September, Riordan said. 

"Bonds was indicted for his testimony in 2003 to a grand jury looking into steroid distribution by BALCO, the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative in Burlingame, and by Bonds' trainer, Greg Anderson

"He was charged with three counts of perjury for denying that he had ever used steroids or other performance-enhancing drugs. Prosecutors dropped those charges after a San Francisco jury deadlocked on them in 2011. 

"Instead of a yes-or-no answer, he launched into a discourse about his 'celebrity' childhood, as the son of ex-ballplayer Bobby Bonds, and his friendship with Anderson, and added,'I don't get into other people's business.'

"Bonds' lawyers argued that his conviction was unfounded because his statements were truthful and because, in later questioning by the prosecutor, he flatly and accurately denied that Anderson had ever given him self-injecting drugs. 

"But the appeals court panel, upholding a ruling by U.S. District Judge Susan Illston, said Bonds' initial answer was irrelevant to the question and could be considered an attempt to obstruct the investigation." 

CNN's Susanna Capelouto also reported on the reconsideration of Bonds' conviction: 

"Last year a three-judge panel of that court upheld the former San Francisco Giants star's conviction. 

"'Upon the vote of a majority of nonrecused active judges, it is ordered that this case can be reheard,' the brief court order Tuesday read.

"In 2011 Bonds was on trial facing three counts of perjury and one count of obstruction of justice stemming from the illegal steroid investigation within major league baseball. 

"A mistrial was declared on the three counts of perjury after jurors reported they could not reach an agreement, but the jury did convict Bonds of one count of obstruction of justice and he was sentenced to two years of probation and fined $4,000.

"Jurors said at the time they found Bonds to be 'evasive' in his testimony to the federal grand jury investigating illegal steroids use by pro athletes, by they said it was not proven that he lied when he said he had not knowingly used steroids. 

"Since then Bonds, 49, has tried to get the conviction overturned." 

Bonds amassed 2,935 hits, 762 home runs and 1,996 RBIs on a .298 batting average in 2,986 career games with the Pittsburgh Pirates and Giants, per ESPN stats.   

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Poch de la Rosa follows all major U.S. sports: NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL and the NCAA. His favorite teams are the Colts, Braves, Pacers, Sharks and Irish, respectively.

 

 

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