Skip to content

Breaking: Barry Bonds guilty of obstruction of justice, but not perjury. Which makes no sense at all.

Apr 13, 2011, 5:42 PM EDT

Barry Bonds

The jury in the Barry Bonds case has reached a verdict. At least on one count: Barry Bonds is guilty on the charge of obstruction of justice.  The jury has reached a hung verdict on the other three remaining counts. This makes no sense at all.

Bonds was facing four charges in all: three counts of lying to a grand jury — one each about taking steroids, taking HGH and receiving injections of any kind — and one catch-all count. That was the obstruction charge.  I’m not entirely sure how the jury could logically conclude that Bonds obstructed justice but not also conclude that he lied about the three specific topics for which he was accused of perjury.  There were no allegations of any other acts of obstruction beyond his testimony. He didn’t destroy evidence, for example.  If you have him for obstruction, how do you not have him on everything?  What possible act beyond lying — which the jury is saying they can’t agree on — can they convict him of obstruction?

The maximum sentence Bonds can receive for the obstruction count is 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. That’s not going to happen, however: others who have been convicted of similar charges in the BALCO prosecutions with similar criminal records (i.e. none), have received probation, short jail sentences and/or home confinement.  Most believe that Bonds would not receive anything greater.  The next hearing in the case — which could be the sentencing, but could be something prior to sentencing — has been set for May 20th.

As for the other three: the government has the option to retry Bonds.  I’d normally say that after all of this they wouldn’t bother. But then again, I thought they wouldn’t bother after most of their perjury evidence was thrown out on appeal, and yet they plowed ahead.

Now they have a conviction. On one count, and it’s a confusing verdict at that which could very well be the subject of a lot of post-trial procedure by the defense due to its logical inconsistency.  If you thought a verdict would bring closure: think again.

UPDATE:  More mystery.  It’s being reported that the basis of the obstruction conviction was the jury finding that Bonds obstructed justice with respect to his “Statement C” as listed in Count 5.  The underlined part of the following is “Statement C”

Q: Did Greg ever give you anything that required a syringe to inject yourself with?

A: I’ve only had one doctor touch me. And that’s my only personal doctor. Greg, like I said, we don’t get into each others’ personal lives. We’re friends, but I don’t – we don’t sit around and talk baseball, because he knows I don’t want – don’t come to my house talking baseball. If you want to come to my house and talk about fishing, some other stuff, we’ll be good friends, you come around talking about baseball, you go on. I don’t talk about his business. You know what I mean? …

Q: Right.

A: That’s what keeps our friendship. You know, I am sorry, but that – you know, that – I was a celebrity child, not just in baseball by my own instincts. I became a celebrity child with a famous father. I just don’t get into other people’s business because of my father’s situation, you see…

That is the answer that, according to the jury, obstructed justice. This despite the fact that the government lawyers questioning him had every opportunity to follow up, to clarify and to tell Barry Bonds that he wasn’t answering their question. An opportunity that they didn’t take, presumably because at the time they didn’t think that the answer Bonds gave was particularly problematic.

So: Bonds saying that he was a “celebrity child” who didn’t get into anyone’s business obstructed justice and brought down a prosecution over seven years in the making.
You cool with that?

Latest Posts
  1. Xander Bogaerts feels fine after being hit in the head by a pitch

    Aug 23, 2014, 12:05 PM EDT

    Xander Bogaerts Xander Bogaerts

    Xander Bogaerts was hit in the head by a Felix Hernandez pitch on Friday night, but the rookie says he is fine. He is not in Saturday afternoon’s lineup.

  2. Walt Jocketty expected to remain Reds’ general manager in 2015

    Aug 23, 2014, 12:04 PM EDT

    Walt Jocketty Getty Getty Images

    The Reds have lost seven straight and are currently on pace for their worst season since 2008, but Walt Jocketty is expected to return as general manager next season.

  3. Doug Fister recently had skin cancer removed from his neck

    Aug 23, 2014, 11:05 AM EDT

    Doug Fister AP AP

    Nationals right-hander Doug Fister revealed last night that he had skin cancer removed from the left side of his neck this week.

  4. Drew Smyly has been really good since joining the Rays

    Aug 23, 2014, 10:12 AM EDT

    Drew Smyly AP AP

    Many around the game were underwhelmed when the Rays acquired Drew Smyly, Nick Franklin, and Willy Adames in the three-team David Price deal last month. It will probably take years before we can make a fair assessment, but the early returns are positive for Tampa Bay.

  5. Position player pitching alert: The Tigers turned to Andrew Romine in a blowout

    Aug 23, 2014, 9:32 AM EDT

    Andrew Romine AP AP

    The Tigers turned to infielder Andrew Romine to pitch in a blowout last night.

  6. Settling the Score: Friday’s results

    Aug 23, 2014, 8:56 AM EDT

    Sean Doolittle AP AP

    A quick recap of a busy Friday around MLB, including an important AL West battle.

  7. Garrett Richards underwent surgery to repair his left knee

    Aug 22, 2014, 11:55 PM EDT

    Garrett Richards Garrett Richards

    Garrett Richards had surgery to repair a torn patellar tendon in his left knee, meaning he’ll be out between six and nine months.

  8. MLB.tv’s blackout restrictions could be over in 2015

    Aug 22, 2014, 11:05 PM EDT

    old TV

    The frustrating blackout restrictions could come to an end as early as 2015, according to Maury Brown of Forbes.

  9. Felix Hernandez reaches 200 strikeouts for a sixth consecutive season

    Aug 22, 2014, 10:10 PM EDT

    Felix Hernandez Felix Hernandez

    Felix Hernandez has struck out 200-plus batters in each of the last six seasons, something no other starting pitcher will have done when the season is over.

  10. Mike Minor loses his no-hit bid with two outs in the eighth

    Aug 22, 2014, 9:17 PM EDT

    Mike Minor Mike Minor

    Mike Minor is on point in Cincinnati against the Reds on Friday night.

  11. Giants aren’t ready to take Buster Posey out from behind the plate yet

    Aug 22, 2014, 9:15 PM EDT

    Buster Posey Buster Posey

    The Giants don’t have any plans to move Buster Posey out from behind the plate just yet, even though his numbers are much better as a first baseman.

  12. Dodgers moving Triple-A affiliate from Albuquerque to Oklahoma City in 2015

    Aug 22, 2014, 8:20 PM EDT

    dodgers logo

    The Dodgers’ Triple-A affiliate will reportedly move from Albuquerque, New Mexico to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma for the 2015 season.

  13. Kyle Lohse to rejoin Brewers’ rotation on Monday

    Aug 22, 2014, 7:25 PM EDT

    Kyle Lohse Getty Images

    Kyle Lohse was dealing with a sore right ankle, but is expected to rejoin the Brewers’ rotation on Monday to start against the Padres.

  14. Manny Machado to undergo season-ending knee surgery

    Aug 22, 2014, 6:33 PM EDT

    manny machado o's getty Getty Images

    Manny Machado’s season is likely over, as he is expected to undergo season-ending knee surgery within a week, according to a report.

  15. The Angels may have trouble getting starting pitching on waivers

    Aug 22, 2014, 6:20 PM EDT

    Bartolo Colon Bartolo Colon

    According to Peter Gammons, the Orioles and Yankees are “claiming everyone” on waivers, which will make it difficult for the Angels to improve their starting rotation after losing Garrett Richards.

  16. Javier Baez hit the ball really far again, trails only … Mandy Brooks?

    Aug 22, 2014, 5:28 PM EDT

    Javier Baez Getty Getty Images

    His latest, a solo shot off Orioles right-hander Kevin Gausman.

  17. A’s send Dan Otero back to Triple-A with 7-1 record, 2.28 ERA

    Aug 22, 2014, 3:45 PM EDT

    Dan Otero A's AP

    Sometimes the life of a player with a minor-league option remaining just isn’t fair.

  18. Albuquerque Isotopes to give away Joc Pederson’s 1994 Buick Century

    Aug 22, 2014, 3:36 PM EDT

    Buick Century

    One window doesn’t work and there is no air conditioning. It has 166,000 miles on it. Which, actually, isn’t that bad. Hmmm . . .

  19. A’s activate Craig Gentry from the disabled list

    Aug 22, 2014, 3:19 PM EDT

    Craig Gentry A's AP

    Oakland’s outfield depth just got a little stronger with Craig Gentry coming off the disabled list after missing the past month with a broken hand.

  20. HBT Daily: it’s showdown time for the Angels and A’s

    Aug 22, 2014, 2:57 PM EDT

    HBT Daily Logo

    Seven games in ten days for the AL West leaders

Featured video

Can Angels recoup loss of Richards?
Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. R. Castillo (5091)
  2. M. Cuddyer (2592)
  3. K. Bryant (2358)
  4. W. Myers (2043)
  5. G. Richards (2033)
  1. H. Ramirez (1996)
  2. D. Ortiz (1981)
  3. A. Cashner (1870)
  4. J. Hamilton (1849)
  5. A. McCutchen (1810)