SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Barry Bonds‘ post-trial hearing was postponed from Friday to June 17, giving prosecutors more time to consider whether to retry the home run king and allowing the former player’s lawyers another month to sharpen their arguments for throwing out the lone conviction.
The seven-time NL MVP was convicted of one count of obstruction of justice April 13 for giving an evasive answer in 2003 to a grand jury investigating the distribution of performance-enhancing drugs.
The federal court jury, which deliberated for four days, deadlocked on three counts charging the former San Francisco Giants star with making false statements when he denied knowingly using performance-enhancing drugs and when he said only his doctors injected him.
Bonds‘ lawyers and federal prosecutors announced an agreement on the delay Wednesday.
The deadline for Bonds‘ motions asking U.S. District Judge Susan Illston to overrule the jury and find him not guilty on the obstruction count or _ alternatively _ to order a new trial also was reset to June 17.
In a filing to the court, prosecutors said both sides agreed on the delay “to evaluate the basis and need for post-trial motions, to evaluate witness availability in the event of a retrial, and to ensure counsel has the time necessary for effective preparation of post-trial and pretrial motions in the event of a possible retrial.”
On the obstruction count, rather than say “yes” or “no” to whether he received drugs that required a syringe, Bonds gave a rambling response to a grand jury, stating: “I became a celebrity child with a famous father.”
However, Bonds answered a similar question later during his December 2003 testimony to a grand jury investigating the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative steroids ring (BALCO). Bonds‘ lawyers maintain that because he eventually did answer the question, the obstruction conviction should be overturned.
The jury’s final votes were 8-4 to acquit Bonds of lying about taking 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.
Bonds, now 46, faces up to 10 years in prison on the obstruction conviction, but federal guidelines call for 15-21 months. For similar offenses, Illston sentenced cyclist Tammy Thomas to six months of home confinement and track coach Trevor Graham to one year of home confinement.
Bonds is the 11th person _ and fourth athlete _ who either was convicted or pleaded guilty in cases developing from the an investigation into the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative. Other athletes include Thomas, NFL defensive lineman Dana Stubblefield and Olympic track gold medalist Marion Jones, who also pleaded guilty in a check-fraud scheme.
By Andrew P. Napolitano
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