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Barry Bonds won't stand trial until at least 2011

Jul 23, 2010, 5:00 PM EDT

UPDATE:  Everyone met today, but they couldn’t agree on a trial
date in 2010
.  They’re going to meet again on August 6th, and if a trial
is scheduled, it likely won’t take place until next year. Nothin’ like
speedy justice!

11:30 A.M.: Prosecutors and Barry Bonds will meet at federal court today in a scheduling conference for Bonds’ perjury case.  One of two things is going to come out of this: a trial date, or the dismissal of charges.

You’ll recall that the prosecutors lost their appeal on what they themselves have portrayed as critical evidence against Bonds, so if they go to trial now they won’t have it.  And from my analysis of the case over the past few years, they have basically no evidence at all that speaks to what Barry Bonds knew or did not know when he took The Cream and the Clear all those years ago.  Without that they have no case.

Prosecutors say they’ll press on, but Bonds’ lawyer tells the Daily News that he wouldn’t be surprised if they simply told the judge that they weren’t going to proceed in light of the adverse ruling on appeal.  I don’t know that I’d bet on that, but it would not at all surprise me if they eventually did so.  Oh, they may first try to throw Greg Anderson back in jail in order to testify, but they’ve done that before and it didn’t work. I don’t think the judge would be too eager to do that again anyway.

The upshot:  today might not mark the end of Barry Bonds’ legal limbo, but I think it certainly marks the beginning of the end.

  1. Chris Fiorentino - Jul 23, 2010 at 11:43 AM

    The big question is how did this guy not get a sniff after leading the league in BB and OBP for the two supposedly off-years he had at the end of his career? If his legal case is dropped now, can’t he sue someone(prosecution, owner’s collusion against him) for screwing up the last couple possible years of his baseball career? Or am I off-base and he was just finished as a ballplayer? I find that hard to believe consider how good he still was his last 2 years…he averaged 256 games, hit 54 HRs, and had an OPS of 1.021.

  2. Jonny5 - Jul 23, 2010 at 11:55 AM

    They shouldn’t go after users this hard. I think if you dealt this stuff, the Feds go after you less harshly. It’s a shame that these guys will be prosecuted to the fullest extent and then some because of who they are. This costs the tax payers and Bonds entirely too much.

  3. DG1965 - Jul 23, 2010 at 12:00 PM

    I hope Anderson got paid very well for keeping his trap shut. Its remarkable that a guy Bonds treated like crap refuses to testify and he will therefore in all likelihood get off. His testimony should have been compelled. He was under no risk of criminal consequences, he has no right to withhold information for someone else.
    But regardless of the legal outcome, anyone with functional brain cells knows that Bonds used and abused PEDs and is no home run champ. He should be in prison but if he gets the McGuire treatment from the HoF voters, that’s good enough for me.

  4. Craig Calcaterra - Jul 23, 2010 at 12:04 PM

    “Should have been compelled?” They threw him in jail for more time that Bonds himself faces if he’s convicted and it still didn’t work. What would you have them do? Water boarding?

  5. DG1965 - Jul 23, 2010 at 12:11 PM

    They don’t go after users this hard. They go after perjurers this hard. Get it? PERJURERS. Bonds had the chance to be done with testifying the same way that Giambi did – by going into the Grand Jury room, swearing to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, and then doing so. He chose to commit perjury instead – regardless of his artful answers and the apparent incompetence of the prosecutors in nailing down specific answers to specific questions, we all know what he did: He lied through his teeth about using PEDs.
    Now, Craig as a lawyer can object all he wants, and I accept his expertise in explaining why Bonds didn’t really commit perjury as defined by the criminal law. But laymen like myself know what Bonds was up to, and we hate what he did to the game and to the system of justice. He got involved with a criminal organization, dedicated to helping athletes of all types cheat. Conte should have gone to jail for far longer than he did.

  6. Nic Geerz - Jul 23, 2010 at 12:22 PM

    what they need to leave that uncle tom alone hes taking me to roscoes tonight for chicken and waffles. but after that let him fry hes perjuring like a mofo

  7. CJ - Jul 23, 2010 at 12:30 PM

    why not? or is that too politically incorrect? how about a cage match with Jose Canseco instead?

  8. DG1965 - Jul 23, 2010 at 12:30 PM

    He should still be in jail if he refuses to testify. He should be in jail, and any clock on the statute of limitations stops while he refuses to testify, because Bonds is profiting by it. The Constitution protects self-incrimination, not the incrimination of others. And no one should short-circuit justice or actively work to prevent it by refusing to testify. Its called “Contempt of Court” right Craig? Well its also Contempt of the System of Justice and of Society. I honestly see it as a difference of degree, not kind, to the neighbors who never called the cops while the woman in NY was raped.
    And I really don’t care how I get slammed here. I’m no authoritarian – but I do have a naive belief that for the system to work, people have to do their part, including witnesses testifying about what they know.

  9. Craig Calcaterra - Jul 23, 2010 at 12:40 PM

    Your general points are good ones, which is why I didn’t object to the court imprisoning Anderson when it did. But at some point the need for the system to function properly butts up against the Constitution’s guarantees against excessive criminal punishment.
    Greg Anderson spent over a year in prison. If Bonds were convicted of perjury he’d probably get six months (that’s what Marion Jones got in the BALCO case). Judges are loathe to level such disproportionate jail sentences as a matter of course.
    Under the Constitution, and individual’s rights are superior to the rights of government. While I don’t approve of Anderson’s refusal to testify, I would be far less approving of him spending more time in prison given the exceedingly minor stakes presented by the Barry Bonds prosecution.

  10. Jonny5 - Jul 23, 2010 at 12:59 PM

    I know this, but in a normal case, as in not dealing with major league baseball, it would have been dropped by now because of lack of evidence! It’s being dragged out beyond the normal realm of things because of who is involved, not what is involved, because what is involved is no credible evidence against Bonds when it comes to him knowingly using steroids or knowingly commiting perjury.

  11. DG1965 - Jul 23, 2010 at 1:14 PM

    But its not a normal case of perjury by Joe Q. Public. This is Barry Bonds, the chemically enhanced greatest ballplayer of his era. Its not at all surprising that the Feds would want to make a point about perjury with such a high profile perjurer.

  12. Steve-0 - Jul 23, 2010 at 2:03 PM

    Craig, don’t you think Anderson’s reluctance to testify is in and of itself some admission of guilt. Granted it’s not admissable in the court of law but if Anderson didn’t know Bonds was lying or using PEDs wouldn’t he just testify to that fact and get it over with? Clearly he must know something and is more willing to go to jail than testify against his friend or lie on the stand and risk perjuring himself right?

  13. Craig Calcaterra - Jul 23, 2010 at 2:06 PM

    It’s quite possible that’s the case. It’s also possible that Barry Bonds has promised him — or Anderson simply expects — great payment in exchange for his silence. Which, yes, would be illegal. No way of knowing. I imagine, however, that the feds will scour Anderson’s finances until hell won’t have it after this is all said and done.
    But like you said, admissibility is what matters here. For trial purposes, Greg Anderson is considered an “unavailable” witness.

  14. DG1965 - Jul 23, 2010 at 2:42 PM

    Craig, you point out the difference between the time spent in prison by Anderson and how much time Bonds might spend if convicted of perjury and that “But at some point the need for the system to function properly butts up against the Constitution’s guarantees against excessive criminal punishment.”
    Let’s return to the days of yore and put you back in Crim Law 101. Mr. Calcaterra, can an uncooperative witness be held in jail indefinitely if his silence prevents the adjudication of a murder charge?

  15. Steve-0 - Jul 23, 2010 at 2:42 PM

    Right. I’m speaking more in the court of public opinion and in the long run Bonds’ potential Hall of Fame bid will take a larger hit than it already has because Anderson sitting in jail rather than talking to prosecutors just doesn’t look good. Whether that’s fair or not I’m not going to debate but just looking at McGwire’s time on the ballot so far and Bonds’ chances don’t look good as of right now.

  16. Craig Calcaterra - Jul 23, 2010 at 2:48 PM

    In law school I’d have to answer based on theory and policy and shit. Based on my own experience, however, I can tell you that courts typically do not hold people on contempt charges for failure to testify for a term that is longer than the trial in question is pending (or sometimes the appeal). The operative standard I’m familiar with in Ohio is a vague one that basically holds that “you don’t hold someone for contempt past the point that you think keeping them in jail will do you any good in getting them to testify.” Obviously that leaves a ton of discretion up to the judge.
    I will cop to not knowing the actually relevant precedents for this. That’s just the practice I’ve seen (saw it in an assault case and once in an arson case that didn’t involve any physical injuries). I’m guessing some court has provided a guideline as to how much is too much.

  17. Jeremy - Jul 23, 2010 at 4:38 PM

    “Politically correct?” Political correctness refers to cutesy names invented by oversensitive busybodies. Opposing torture isn’t “politically correct” – it’s basic goddamned human decency.

  18. Old Gator - Jul 24, 2010 at 1:04 PM

    If I’m not mistaken, Bud Light claims special privileges for perjurors whose perjury might not conform to the best interests of the game under the special dispensation to behave like an alternative universe that Congress granted baseball just a few hours after Max Frost, Doc Ellis and Bill Lee threw all that acid in the DC reservoir. Under the unwritten rules of the special dispensation, Bonds may perjor himself with impunity in the Feder courts but may still be subject to disciplinary action by the league president.

  19. Old Gator - Jul 24, 2010 at 1:06 PM

    You know what really pisses me off? They hustled my beautiful Anna Chapman back to Moscow within a couple of weeks, and they’re dragging and dragging and dragging out this hulking deadbeat’s trial like he was some sort of special case. To hell with that. Let’s just exchange him for Anna Chapman and be done with it.

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