A federal judge in San Francisco today granted prosecutors’ request to delay their decision on a possible perjury retrial for home-run champion Barry Bonds until at least late August.
Bonds, 46, is accused of lying before a grand jury in 2003 when he denied having knowingly taken steroids or human growth hormone or having received any kind of injection from his trainer, Greg Anderson.
A jury in Judge Susan Illston’s court in April convicted him of one count of obstructing justice by giving evasive testimony, but deadlocked on three perjury counts.
Prosecutors have not yet announced whether they plan to retry the former San Francisco Giants outfielder on the three perjury counts.
Bonds argued in papers filed Wednesday that the U.S. Speedy Trial Act requires a retrial to begin by late July, if he is retried at all.
But Illston said at a brief hearing today that she agrees with prosecutors that it would be “sensible” to postpone any action on a retrial until she has ruled on a separate motion by Bonds.
In that motion, Bonds asked her to overturn his obstruction-of-justice conviction by either issuing a judgment of acquittal or ordering a new trial on the count.
Illston tentatively scheduled a hearing on that motion for Aug. 26.
Prosecutors argued in a filing last night that there should be an exception to the Speedy Trial Act “in the interests of justice” because if Bonds wins his motion, a retrial on the obstruction count should be combined with any possible retrial on the perjury counts.
Outside of court, defense attorney Allen Ruby declined to call the judge’s denial of a July retrial date a setback.
“It’s another step in the process,” Ruby said. “We’ve said from the beginning we’re confident Mr. Bonds will be vindicated by the system.”
Bonds set Major League Baseball’s career home run record in his last season with the San Francisco Giants in 2007.
He is one of 11 people charged with either illegally distributing drugs or lying in connection with a probe of the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative, or BALCO. The others pleaded guilty or were convicted.
Julia Cheever, Bay City News