- Obama downplays IRS scandal, blames Obamacare rollout on ‘outdated’ agencies
- Pregnancies decline overall, up among older women
- Pentagon plans to destroy Syrian chemical arms on ship at sea
- Paris Metro issues ‘politeness manual’ to improve passengers’ behavior
- Justin Bieber, crew detained at Australian airport in drug search
- Lee Rigby trial: Muslim who machete-hacked soldier calls it ‘humane’ kill
- GM ending Chevy sales in Europe to focus on Opel and Vauxhall
- Putin’s diplomats to U.S. busted for living high life off $1.5M bilked from Medicaid
- Happy Meal: Couple goes to McDonald’s, leaves with bag packed with cash
- Boehner: It took me 3 to 4 hours to sign up for Obamacare
Bonds gets 30-day home sentence, 2 years probation; then appeals it
SAN FRANCISCO — Eight years of being investigated for steroid allegations ended for baseball home run king Barry Bonds on Friday with a 30-day sentence to be served at home. No more — and maybe less.
U.S. District Judge Susan Illston immediately delayed imposing the sentence while Bonds appeals his obstruction of justice conviction. The former star was found guilty in April not of using steroids, but of misleading grand jurors.
Even without prison time, the case has left its mark on the seven-time National League MVP. His 762 career home runs, and 73 homers in 2001, may forever be seen as tainted records, and his ticket to baseball’s Hall of Fame is in doubt.
Bonds declined to speak in court. Well-wishers hugged the 47-year-old in the hallway courtroom after the hearing was over, and a smattering of fans cheered him as he left the courthouse. It was a marked departure from his initial court appearance four years ago, when guards had to clear a path for Bonds to get through dozens of onlookers to his SUV.
“Whatever he did or didn’t do, we all lie,” said Esther Picazo, a fan outside the courthouse. “We all make mistakes. But I don’t think he should’ve gotten any kind of punishment at all.”
Bonds was sentenced to two years of probation, 250 hours of community service, a $4,000 fine and 30 days of home confinement. It will take time to determine whether he serves any of it; his appellate specialist, Dennis Riordan, estimated it would take nearly a year and a half for the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to rule.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Parrella called the sentence a “slap on the wrist” and the fine “almost laughable” for a superstar athlete who made more than $192 million for playing baseball.
Parrella had sought 15 months in prison and argued that home confinement wasn’t punishment enough “for a man with a 15,000-square-foot (1,390-sq. meter) house with all the advantages.” Bonds lives in a six-bedroom, 10-bath house with a gym and swimming pool.
“The defendant basically lived a double life for decades before this,” Parrella said. He ripped Bonds not only over performance-enhancing drugs but over his personal life: “He had mistresses throughout his marriages.”
She said she agreed with a probation department report that called Bonds‘ conviction an “aberration” in his life. She said she received dozens of letters in support of Bonds, some discussing how he has given money and time “for decades” to charitable causes.
Bonds is the last — and highest-profile — defendant in the government’s investigation of the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative, or BALCO, a steroids distribution ring. The ex-slugger has long denied knowingly using performance-enhancing drugs.
Illston said she was compelled to give Bonds a sentence similar to the two she meted out to other figures convicted after trial of lying to the grand jury and federal investigators about their connection to steroids.
The case against Bonds after he testified before the grand jury Dec. 3, 2003. Prosecutors revised his original 2007 indictment several times and spent a year unsuccessfully appealing a key evidentiary ruling before jurors deadlocked in April on three of the four remaining charges related to his grand jury testimony.
On the final charge, the trial jury convicted Bonds of purposely answering questions about steroids with rambling non sequiturs in an attempt to mislead the grand jury.
“I think he probably got off a little easy,” said Jessica Wolfram, one of the jurors who convicted Bonds of obstruction. “He was just so clearly guilty, so I actually am happy he got sentenced to something.”
Besides Bonds, 10 people were convicted of various charges in BALCO cases. Six of them, including track star Marion Jones, were ensnared for lying to grand jurors, federal investigators or the court. Others, including Bonds‘ personal trainer Greg Anderson, pleaded guilty to steroid distribution charges.
The government’s top BALCO investigator, Jeff Novitzky, declined to comment outside the courtroom after attending the hearing.
Bonds was one of two former baseball superstars to stand trial in doping-related cases this year. The trial of pitcher Roger Clemens was halted after just two days in July because prosecutors used inadmissible evidence. U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton has set a new trial for April 17.
Both men will face a different judgment day in 2013, when they’ll be eligible for the Hall of Fame.
Associated Press writers Jason Dearen in San Francisco and Ronald Blum in New York contributed to this report.
Why such hatred toward America's freedom of religion?
- 'Hunger Games' delivers Obama's message on income inequality: liberal group
- Inside China: Nuclear submarines capable of widespread attack on U.S.
- Obama: Nelson Mandela now 'belongs to the ages'
- NAPOLITANO: Pope Francis should be saving souls, not pocketbooks
- Russian diplomats busted bilking $1.5 million from Medicaid
- Nelson Mandela, South Africa's first black president, dies at age 95
- PRUDEN: British press horrified as London's new mayor dares to proclaim the truth
- Hack attack: 2 million Facebook, Twitter passwords stolen
- Activists encourage Obama to circumvent Congress, use more executive authority
- Democratic infighting erupts over 'we can have it all' fantasy on entitlements
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.
Understanding economic events with a free market explanation
John Wood illustrates a new American politics, and the path to get there.
Interviews and show reviews from the Los Angeles punk scene past and present. Los Angeles has always been rich in punk rock talent since punk rock was born.
White House pets gone wild!