Barry Bonds found guilty of obstruction
Barry Bonds, baseball’s all-time home run leader and from 2000 to 2004 easily the most dominant player since Babe Ruth, will wake up Thursday as a convicted felon. One of the game’s greatest players — seven times his league’s Most Valuable Player — was found guilty on Wednesday of evading and misleading a grand jury in 2003. A San Franciso jury convicted him of obstruction of justice.
Barry Bonds avoids perjury convictions
Update : 4/12/ SAN FRANCISCO — The jury deciding the fate of Barry Bonds has entered its third day of deliberations, calling it a day Monday after hearing a re-reading of key testimony in the morning and continuing discussions into the afternoon. The eight women and four men impaneled March 22 in Judge Susan Illston’s courtroom listened to 11 days of testimony and arguments regarding testimony Bonds gave to the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (BALCO) grand jury in 2003. The jurors returned to deliberations at 8:30 a.m. PT on Tuesday.
Barry Bonds leaves the courthouse Monday as the jury continues to deliberate in his perjury trial. (Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP)
Bonds, the Major Leagues’ all-time leader in home runs and a seven-time Most Valuable Player, is standing trial on three counts of making false statements and one count of obstruction of justice based on his appearance before the BALCO grand jury, in which he denied knowingly using performance-enhancing drugs. One charge of making false statements was dropped prior to closing arguments.
update: 4/11/ Bonds jury ends second day without verdictBy Howard Mintz email@example.comPosted: 04/11/2011 04:05:41 PM PDT
With lawyers sometimes nervously wandering the halls, peering at their smart phones for a hint of progress, the federal jury in the Barry Bonds perjury trial on Monday finished another day of deliberating without reaching a verdict. The eight-woman, four-man jury will return to federal court in San Francisco on Tuesday morning to begin their third day of deliberations. The jurors have been methodical, asking to review two crucial pieces of evidence and clearly sorting through the legal wrinkles in the case before deciding the home run king’s fate. Bonds, 46- faces three counts of perjury and one count of obstructing justice for allegedly lying to a federal grand jury in December 2003 about using steroids. On Monday, the jurors began their deliberations by getting testimony read back in the courtroom from one of the prosecution’s chief witnesses, Kathy Hoskins, Bonds’ former personal shopper. She testified she saw Greg Anderson, Bonds’ former personal trainer, inject Bonds in the stomach, which would be the only firsthand account of such an encounter. Bonds has spent deliberations for the most part ensconced in an attorneys’ lounge on the 18th floor of the federal building, accompanied by his lawyers and supporters, including his mother, Pat Bonds. The biggest lie for guys like Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens is they didn’t need drugs to stay great
Mike LupicaUpdated: Thursday, March 24th
Antonelli/News Barry Bonds is using the defense that he didn’t know what his trainer was giving him.
Cataffo/News Roger Clemens is likely to use the same strategy when he goes on trail for lying to Congress.
Bonds on trial
Where do you stand on the issue of Barry Bonds’ alleged steroid use?
There is a reason why one of Roger Clemens’ attorneys is in San Francisco watching the Barry Bonds’ trial. Clemens wants to see if Bonds can get by with the following defense: I didn’t know what my trainer was giving me! If that defense does work for Bonds then maybe it will work for Clemens when he stands trial for perjury, accused of lying under oath about taking performance-enhancing drugs. And if it works for Bonds and Clemens, maybe it will give hope and consolation if the government continues to come after Lance Armstrong on PED’s. I didn’t know what I was taking. My trainer told me it was flaxseed oil. Or B12 shots. Or arthritis cream. Or Clearasil. Or Ben-Gay. For now, this all plays out where it started, in a courthouse in San Francisco. The feds were after the BALCO lab several years ago, the drugs being manufactured at BALCO, and a grand jury was convened and Bonds was called to testify. He heard at the time what he is hearing now from prosecutors at the Phillip Burton Federal Building, Golden Gate Ave., San Francisco. Heard that the government wasn’t after him, that as long as he told the truth, he was immune from prosecution. But this was when and where the template was cut for Barry Bonds, one that would be followed later by Clemens and Sammy Sosa and Rafael Palmeiro and Mark McGwire: The last resort for any of them was telling the truth about the drugs they took to help them do what they did on a baseball field. Now Bonds stands trial and Clemens will eventually stand trial. To the end, they stubbornly stick to their story, that they didn’t know. To the end, they are stubbornly loyal only to themselves, and their records, and what they still believe should be their place in baseball history. The lie that really started this, for both of them, wasn’t the one that Bonds told in the grand jury room, that he didn’t know what he was taking. Or the one that Clemens told in front of Congress, the one about how he never used steroids. It was this lie: At the end of our careers, they were still so great – greater even then they had been as young men – they didn’t need drugs. Now this doesn’t mean that the feds can prove their case on Bonds now, Clemens later. Bonds’ story, and he sure is sticking to it, is that he didn’t know what his trainer Greg Anderson – more about him in a minute, because he’s a lot more interesting than a ballplayer lying about steroids – was giving him. Bonds didn’t know even as he started to look like the Michelin Man in a Giants No. 25 jersey, even as he was able to have the greatest finishing home run kick in all of baseball history, even as his home run numbers grew the way his head did. That is part of Bonds’ dog-ate-my-homework defense, too: I didn’t know it wasn’t flaxseed oil and let’s see you prove that I did.
Even if convicted of lying to the original BALCO grand jury, there is no guarantee that Bonds will ever do a day of jail time. But for now, Bonds and Clemens (with Armstrong perhaps cycling up from back in the pack, legs churning harder than ever), they’re the two immortal baseball players who would risk going to jail rather than admitting they used drugs. Understand something: If Bonds lied to a grand jury, whether he thought he should have to answer questions about baseball drugs or not, then he is no victim here, and no martyr. The feds don’t like it when you lie to them, whether you’re going to end up with 762 home runs in the books, or whether you’ve got the kind of empire that Martha Stewart does. The feds think that Bonds lied to them. They think that he knew what he was doing and what Greg Anderson was doing and why they were both doing it, for a long time. Bonds thought he was the best ballplayer in the whole world and he didn’t like it when McGwire and Sosa became the home run stars of baseball and decided he was going to do whatever he had to become the heavyweight champ of his sport again. And, boy, did he ever. Are you serious? Look at him then, look at him now. Look at the physical changes in him in the context of what we knew about baseball and steroids by the time he was hitting 73 home runs in a single season. Once more, it becomes the baseball version of the great old line from country music: Who you gonna believe, him or your own lyin’ eyes? Bonds’ lawyers, of course, will try to make him out to be the only honest guy in the courtroom, and Clemens’ lawyers will eventually do the same. Everybody is lying about drugs except them. Bonds’ former business manager, Steve Hoskins? Liar. His ex-girlfriend, Kimberly Bell? Liar. Brian McNamee, Clemens’ former trainer? Rat and liar. The defense lawyers will blame all this on the government, the media, the hangers-on, the stigma attached to juicers in sports, all that. Of course we will hear that the government has wasted millions persecuting these guys, of course they want that to be the issue, not whether or not two of the most famous players in all of baseball history lied after having sworn to tell the truth. But then it isn’t just lawyers who like simple narratives on cases, and trials, like these. We are now supposed to buy into the narrative that Bonds has the good fortune to have a stand-up guy like Anderson willing to do time rather than cooperate with the government, and that McNamee – Clemens’ guy – is some kind of weasel who sold his former client out. Except that Anderson doesn’t care whether Bonds ends up in jail or not, he’s just not going to help the government put him there. The really easy narrative is that Anderson is so loyal to Bonds he will sit in a jail cell for the length of this trial after having already spent 14 months in a cell for refusing to cooperate with the United States government on this matter. It sounds terrific, even if it comes out of the theater of the uninformed. Does Anderson have his principles? Clearly he does. But they are based far more on him being anti-government at this point than pro-Bonds. Greg Anderson did his time and then the government came at him again and it only stiffened his resolve. There is also the notion that Bonds is paying Anderson to keep taking these falls for him, even though nobody who was close to either one of them actually believes that. McNamee? When Sen. George Mitchell’s people were conducting their investigation into baseball drugs, they not only interviewed McNamee, they did so with feds in the room. The feds told McNamee the same thing that Bonds was essentially told back at the beginning of this: If you tell the truth, you are fine. But if you lie to use, we will come after you. Threatened with prosecution, McNamee told his truth on this matter. The idea that Anderson is some sort of noble figure and that McNamee is a weasel because he elected not to lie to the government isn’t just the theater of the uninformed, it is the theater of the absurd. You know who’s loyal here, and principled? The lawyers who have defended both Anderson and McNamee for free. Allen Ruby, Bonds’ lawyer, is going to walk away with a fat fee and so is Clemens’ guy Rusty Hardin, bless his heart. We constantly hear from those who want make Bonds and Clemens into victims, how strong they are. You know who’s strong? A cancer survivor named Paula Canny, who represents Anderson, who spends the first day of Bonds’ trial in a jail cell with Greg Anderson, where Anderson awaits his next trip to real prison. Canny is not out in front of this the way Bonds’ lawyers are, she just spends her days and nights writing motions and pleas to somehow free Greg Anderson. She’s the loyal one.