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Bonds guilty of obstruction of justice
Less than two miles from the ballpark where he broke Hank Aaron’s career home run record in August 2007, the seven-time National League MVP stood on the sidewalk on the courthouse’s north side while the jurors went out the south entrance. Many lingered to answer questions _ but for now, most only would give their first names.
Amber, a 19-year-old blonde woman who was the youngest juror, said the final votes were 8-4 to acquit Bonds of lying about steroids and 9-3 to acquit him on lying about HGH use. The panel voted 11-1 to convict him of getting an injection from someone other than his doctor, with one woman holding out, she said.
Baseball’s season (73) and career (762) record-holder for home runs, Bonds testified before a grand jury that Anderson told him the substances he was giving Bonds were flaxseed oil and arthritic balm, and that Bonds didn’t know they were designer steroids.
His answer meandered, talking about his friendship with Anderson. The underlined part in the indictment, the crime he was convicted of, was this response in what was called Statement C in the jury instructions: “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.”
The jury instruction said that to be convicted, Bonds must be found to have “obstructed, influenced or impeded, or endeavored to obstruct, influence, or impede” the grand jury “by knowingly giving material testimony that was intentionally evasive, false or misleading.”
“The full grand jury testimony was a series of evasive answers,” said a 60-year-old juror, who identified himself only as Steve.
“When you’re in front of a grand jury you have to answer, and he gave a (expletive) answer,” said Fred Jacob, the 56-year-old jury foreman. “He gave a story rather than a yes-or-no answer.”
The defense plans to argue that Bonds‘ answer wasn’t relevant to the grand jury. On April 6, in arguments over the jury instructions, Riordan quoted Karl Marx and told Illston: “If this trial is a tragedy, a conviction on (statements) C and D would be utterly a farce.”
The holdout on the “needle” count was a juror who identified herself as Nyiesha. She 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.
“They were family,” Nyiesha said of the Hoskins siblings. “That left me with reasonable doubt.”
Bonds faces a different type of judgment at the end of 2012 _ the Baseball Writers’ Association of America _ when he appears on the Hall of Fame ballot for the first time.
Roger Clemens, a seven-time Cy Young Award winner, also will be on the ballot then. He is scheduled for trial in federal court in Washington, D.C., starting July 6, on three counts of making false statements, two counts of perjury and one count of obstruction of Congress for his denials of drug use. That case may be delayed by wrangling over evidence.
Jeff Novitzky, the federal investigator who aggressively led the BALCO investigation, is at the forefront of a different grand jury probing Lance Armstrong, who has won the Tour de France a record seven times.
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