Jurors: Gov’t failed to connect Bonds and steroids
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - In the end, jurors agreed Barry Bonds was evasive when he went before a grand jury more than seven years ago.
The problem was they didn’t entirely believe the prosecution witnesses in front of them, either.
That’s why the trial of the all-time home run leader ended Wednesday with a decision on just one of four counts _ guilty on obstruction of justice _ and a hung jury on three charges of lying to that grand jury.
A majority of the jurors said prosecutors failed to prove Bonds knowingly used steroids or human growth hormone.
“I think he knew what he was taking,” said the jury foreman, Fred Jacob. “But the government didn’t prove that beyond a reasonable doubt. The governing force was that Bonds was innocent until proven guilty.”
It was a tricky case for the panel. None of the key witnesses gained everyone’s trust. That went for the defendant, too.
Jurors, six of whom spoke to the media after being dismissed but mostly used just their first names, felt it was obvious Bonds had something to hide when he testified before the grand jury on Dec. 4, 2003.
“He was entirely evasive in his answers and it was obvious he was trying to avoid the questions,” said a juror named Steve.
Steve said the panel was dissatisfied with Bonds‘ entire grand jury testimony, although the slugger was convicted specifically for discussing life as a “celebrity child of a famous father” when asked whether his personal trainer, Greg Anderson, had ever given him a substance that required the use of a syringe.
“They would ask him a question and he would just talk about something else,” Steve said.
Nonetheless, the jurors couldn’t agree on the remaining three counts, prompting U.S. District Judge Susan Illston to declare a mistrial on those charges.
“I think the government tried a little too hard to make him look guilty,” Jacob said.
The jury voted 11-1 to convict Bonds of lying when he told the grand jury that no one other than his doctor ever injected him with anything.
Withstanding intense pressure from her colleagues to switch her vote, a juror named Nyiesha couldn’t convict Bonds on that count. Nyiesha said she didn’t believe the testimony of Bonds‘ personal shopper, Kathy Hoskins, who told the jury she watched Anderson inject the slugger in the belly button in 2002.
Hoskins is the sister of Steve Hoskins, Bonds‘ former business partner, who testified about discussing steroid use with the player and separately with the player’s doctor. He was a star witness but his credibility was severely undermined during the trial.