Appeals court upholds Bonds' conviction
Former Giants slugger Barry Bonds' federal obstruction-of-justice conviction was upheld by an appeals court on Friday.
Major League Baseball's all-time career home run leader was convicted of the charge in April 2011, when a jury determined that his 2003 testimony to a grand jury, during which he denied knowingly using steroids provided by BALCO, was evasive and misleading.
On Friday, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco upheld the ruling, agreeing that one of Bonds' specific responses in his original testimony was indeed misleading to the jury. When asked if his trainer, Greg Anderson, had ever given him any injectable substances, Bonds failed to give a direct answer. Bonds instead talked about his and Anderson's friendship, as well as the difficulties of being the son of a celebrity. His father, Bobby Bonds, played 14 years in the Majors.
In December 2011, Bonds appealed his conviction after being sentenced to two years' probation, 30 days' house arrest and receiving a $4,000 fine. With Friday's ruling, those are the punishments now awaiting Bonds.
In a statement on his website Friday night, Bonds said he told his attorneys to ask that he be allowed to begin serving his sentence immediately:
"Naturally, I am disappointed with today's decision from the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. But this disappointment does not in any way diminish the profound respect and admiration I have for our justice system, the best in the world. ...
"Meanwhile, I also intend to seek further judicial review of the important legal issues presented by the appeal that was decided today."
Bonds' appeal was based on the argument that he did not lie in his testimony because his statement of being a "celebrity child" was factual. Judge Mary M. Schroeder, in her written explanation on behalf of the three-judge appeals panel, rejected that premise, saying that the answer was unrelated to the question and therefore prevented the jury from "obtaining truthful and responsive answers."
"The statement served to divert the grand jury's attention away from the relevant inquiry of the investigation, which was Anderson and BALCO's distribution of steroids and PEDs," Schroeder wrote. "The statement was therefore evasive."
Bonds' appellate attorney, Dennis Riordan, didn't return a call from The Associated Press. Bonds has the options of asking a special 11-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit to reconsider his case, or he could petition the U.S. Supreme Court to hear his appeal.
"This has been a long and difficult chapter in my life and I look forward to moving beyond it once I have fulfilled the penalties ordered by the court," Bonds said in his statement.