Bonds Avoids Prison Time for Giving Evasive Testimony
Bonds Avoids Prison Time for Giving Evasive Testimony By JASON TURBOW
SAN FRANCISCO — Barry Bonds, baseball’s home run champion, avoided a prison term Friday when Judge Susan Illston sentenced him to 30 days of house arrest, 2 years of probation, 250 hours of community service with youth groups and a $4,000 fine for providing evasive testimony to a federal grand jury eight years ago.
Bonds’s lawyers stated their intention to appeal, and Illston agreed to stay the sentence through the appeal process.
The sentence is in line with those Illston, who presided over Bonds’s perjury trial in April, has handed down to other similarly convicted athletes. Bonds, wearing a dark suit, a white shirt and a silver tie, did not react to the sentence, which was substantially more lenient than the 15 months of incarceration recommended by the prosecution. His mother, Patricia, sat in the front row of the packed courtroom.
Afterward, Bonds hugged several people in the hallway outside the courtroom, then departed the courthouse without commenting. He had likewise declined to speak when Illston asked him if he wanted to address the court before she issued her sentence.
The federal prosecutors in the case did not comment afterward, either. When Allen Ruby, a lawyer for the defense, was asked by reporters which side had come out ahead in the sentencing, he said: “It depends on whether justice was done. If justice was done, then everyone’s a winner. As to what we think, we’re not talking.”
Bonds was convicted April 13 by a jury that listened to three weeks of often-graphic testimony about his suspected use of performance-enhancing drugs. It found him guilty on one of the four counts in the case, agreeing that he had obstructed justice by giving evasive answers to a grand jury in 2003 when asked if his former personal trainer Greg Anderson had ever injected him.
The jury, which spent four days deliberating, also came within one vote of convicting him on a second count, voting, 11-to-1, that he had committed perjury when he told the same grand jury in 2003 that he was never injected by anyone other than his doctor.
The prosecutors in the case ultimately chose not to seek a retrial on that count and two others involving perjury on which the Bonds jury deadlocked. They asked Illston to sentence Bonds to 15 months in prison, arguing that his “pervasive efforts to testify falsely, to mislead the grand jury, to dodge questions in the grand jury make his conduct worthy of a significant jail sentence.”
Bonds’s lawyers countered that he should be sentenced to probation and community service, and that any time in prison would be “unfair and unwarranted.” Meanwhile, federal probation officers, in a presentencing report, recommended a “downward departure” from the sentencing guidelines that call for a prison term of 15 to 21 months for the crime for which Bonds was convicted.
Bonds’s legal difficulties began eight years ago because of his connection to the federal investigation into steroids trafficking by the Bay Area Laboratory Co-operative. In three other cases connected to Balco, Illston did not resort to prison time in her sentences. The former N.F.L lineman Dana Stubblefield received two years of probation; the former Olympic cyclist Tammy Thomas was given five years of probation and six months of home confinement; and the track coach Trevor Graham received five years of probation and a year of home confinement.
Bonds, 47, holds the record for most home runs in a season (73) and a career (762). He last played in 2007, and even before his conviction had become an enduring symbol of baseball’s steroids era, which ran rampant through the 1990s and the first part of the last decade, and ended up tarnishing many of the sport’s top sluggers in that period, Bonds, Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro among them.
In recent years baseball has become notably more aggressive about testing for steroids and punishing those who test positive. Beginning in February it will begin testing major leaguers for human growth hormone, putting it ahead of other major team sports in North America.
But any sense that baseball was successfully wiping out the use of performance-enhancers was given a serious blow a week ago when it was disclosed that the Milwaukee Brewers’ Ryan Braun, the National League’s 2011 most valuable player, had tested positive for a banned substance, leaving him facing a 50-game suspension.
Braun is appealing the test’s finding, but he will have a difficult time having it overturned. Like Bonds, he is a left fielder and a hitter with home run power, and even as baseball was hoping that the Bonds verdict would begin to bring a close to a long and unhappy chapter in the sport’s history, the Braun case is threatening to start a new one.
I got a stiffer punishment for a misdemeanor assault charge and I didn't even like to the cops I told them what I did.
whatever the trails costs he should have to pay the costs, not the taxpayers. baseball is fun to play but dreadful to watch, so boring and overrated anyway. at least it's over and we won't have to hear about it anymore. he lied just like all the rest, they didn't want their precious image or ego damaged by actually manning up and admitting guilt.
I still hate Canseco 10x a much as bonds, I'm sliding him in the jaw if I ever see him on the street.
on another board someone said $55 million of our tax dollars was spent on this bullshit case.
Yep, Much ado about nothing. I can't stand Bonds, but it has nothing to do with whether or not he took steroids or lied about it. I actually like Clemens, so he'll probably do hard time. This whole business has been a giant waste of time and resources. Just another distraction for people from all the real problems out there. Like the fact that 50% of the U.S. population lives in abject poverty.
All logos, trademarks and content on this site are property of 2001-2013 by IronMagazine All Rights Reserved Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of IronMagazine.com is prohibited.