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Obstruction of justice charge gets Bonds
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Barry Bonds was convicted Wednesday on a single count of obstruction of justice. Here is what that means.
The federal jury was told in its instructions to find the slugger guilty of obstruction if any one of seven specific statements he made in 2003 to a grand jury investigating sports doping was “evasive, false, or misleading” and if Bonds knowingly made the statement to keep the grand jury from accomplishing its task. In other words, the jury was asked to figure out if Bonds lied in an attempt to obstruct the grand jury.
In the end, the jury deadlocked on whether Bonds was obstructing justice on six of the statements.
The statement that triggered Bonds‘ conviction came from an exchange with prosecutors that started with a question about performance-enhancing drugs, needles and Bonds‘ relationship with his childhood friend and personal trainer, Greg Anderson.
This is the statement jurors were given:
“Q: Did Greg ever give you anything that required a syringe to inject yourself with?
Bonds: 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? …
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 …”
Jurors were only supposed to make their decision based on the second answer, the one beginning “That’s what keeps …” However, it seemed after the verdict on Wednesday that they looked at the whole exchange. The foreman of the jury, who said his first name was Fred, repeatedly used an expletive to describe Bonds‘ answer to the question from the prosecutors.
“When you’re in front of a grand jury you have to answer, and he gave a b––- answer. It was a b––- answer,” Fred said. “He gave a story rather than a yes or no answer.”
By Andrew P. Napolitano
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