Barry Bonds obstruction of justice conviction overturned

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SAN FRANCISCO (KRON)  Barry Bonds’ obstruction of justice conviction has been reversed by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled his meandering answer before a grand jury in 2003 was not material to the government’s investigation into steroids distribution.

Bonds issued this statement shortly after the conviction was overturned.

“Today’s news is something that I have long hoped for. I am humbled and truly thankful for the outcome as well as the opportunity our judicial system affords to all individuals to seek justice. I would like to thank my family, friends, and all of you who have supported me throughout my career and especially over the past several years. Your support has given me strength throughout this process and for that, I am beyond grateful. This has been a long and strenuous period in my life; I very much look forward to moving beyond it. I do so without ill will toward anyone. I am excited about what the future holds for me as I embark on the next chapter. Lastly and certainly not least, I would like to thank my legal team for their hard work and diligence on my behalf.”

Bonds was convicted in 2011 of a single count of obstruction by a jury, which deadlocked on three charges he made false statements during his grand jury appearance.

Other charges against Bonds, 50, were dropped or dismissed before the trial.

In the statement at issue in the conviction, Bonds called himself the “celebrity child” of a baseball-playing father when asked whether his trainer, Greg Anderson, had given him anything to inject himself with.

The appeals court majority said, “During a grand jury proceeding, defendant gave a rambling, non-responsive answer to a simple question. Because there is insufficient evidence that Statement C was material, defendant’s conviction for obstruction of justice … is not supported by the record.”

The court concluded, “His conviction and sentence must therefore be vacated, and he may not be tried again on that count.”

Bonds has already served his sentence of one month of home confinement, but according to his lawyers, he wanted to continue the appeal to clear his name.

The government could ask the 11-judge panel to reconsider Wednesday’s decision or could request that all 29 judges on the 9th Circuit rehear the case. The full court has never sat on a case since it began using the “limited en banc” panels in 1980.

Prosecutors also could petition the U.S. Supreme Court to review the decision.

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