Barry Bonds’ obstruction of justice conviction upheld by appeals court
SAN FRANCISCO -- A federal appeals court Friday upheld slugger Barry Bonds’ conviction for obstruction of justice for being evasive during grand jury testimony.
A three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that someone may be convicted of obstruction for making factually true statements if they are intended to mislead or evade.
During testimony in 2003 before a federal grand jury investigating the distribution of performance-enhancing drugs, the former San Francisco Giant and home run king was asked if his trainer ever provided him with substances that could be injected. Bonds gave a long-winded answer about being a celebrity child before he denied being given any such drug.
Bonds was tried in San Francisco in 2011 on charges of making false statements to a grand jury and obstruction. The jury was hung on three counts of false statements but convicted him on the obstruction charge, a felony.
Bonds appealed, arguing he could not be found guilty of a crime for giving a truthful, albeit meandering, statement.
The court said that Bonds’ statements about being the child of a famous baseball player “had nothing to do with the question” and was “at the very least misleading.”
“The statement served to divert the grand jury’s attention away from the relevant inquiry of the investigation,” the court concluded.
Bonds was sentenced to two years’ probation, 250 hours of community service, a $4,000 fine and a month of monitored home confinement, all of which had been put on hold pending his appeal.
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