Bonds’ obstruction conviction overturned
SAN FRANCISCO — Barry Bonds’ obstruction of justice conviction was thrown out Wednesday by a federal court of appeals, which ruled 10-1 that his meandering answer before a grand jury in 2003 was not material to the government’s investigation into illegal steroids distribution.
“Real-life witness examinations, unlike those in movies and on television, invariably are littered with non-responsive and irrelevant answers,” Judge Alex Kozinski wrote.
Baseball’s career home runs leader was indicted in 2007 for his testimony four years earlier before the grand jury investigating the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative.
Dennis Riordan, Bonds’ appellate lawyer, spoke with his client after the ruling.
“He said an enormous, enormous weight had been lifted from his body and soul,” Riordan said.
Jessica Wolfram, one of the jurors who convicted Bonds, said she couldn’t help but feel it was “all a waste, all for nothing.”
“Just a waste of money, having the whole trial and jury,” she said.
After the trial that opened in March 2011, a jury deadlocked on three counts charging Bonds with making false statements when he denied receiving steroids and human growth hormone from trainer Greg Anderson and denied receiving injections from Anderson or his associates.
Bonds was convicted for his response when he was asked whether Anderson ever gave him “anything that required a syringe to inject yourself with.”
“That’s what keeps our friendship,” Bonds said. “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.”
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 never has sat on a case since it began using the “limited en banc” panels in 1980.