barry-bonds.jpgWithout saying whether they plan to retry Barry Bonds on three deadlocked counts, federal prosecutors asked a U.S. judge in San Francisco today to postpone the next hearing in the case until Aug. 26.

The former San Francisco Giants slugger, who holds Major League Baseball’s career home run record, is accused of lying to a federal grand jury in 2003 when he denied knowingly taking steroids or human growth hormone.

In a trial in April, a jury in the court of U.S. District Judge Susan Illston convicted him of one count of giving evasive testimony to the grand jury, but deadlocked on three other counts of perjury.

Illston had been scheduled to hold a hearing Friday to set a date for a retrial on those charges.

Prosecutors have not yet stated whether they will retry Bonds, but after the April trial, U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag said prosecutors hoped to tell Illston “as soon as possible” whether they will seek a retrial.

Illston had also scheduled a second hearing on July 1 on motions by Bonds for a judgment of acquittal or for a new trial on the evasive-testimony charge on which Bonds was convicted.

Defense lawyers argued in papers filed last week that a statement by Bonds that trial jurors identified as evasive was rambling but not untruthful and was therefore not a crime.

In today’s filing, prosecutors asked Illston to cancel both the June 24 and July 1 hearings. They asked her to set a briefing schedule on the motions to set aside the sole conviction, and to hear arguments on that issue on Aug. 26.

The federal attorneys said they will be better able to give the judge “meaningful information” about scheduling a retrial after the defense request is decided.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Parrella wrote, “The parties will be in a far better position to provide meaningful information to the court regarding the scheduling of the pending counts that remain in this case once the defendant’s motions have been heard and resolved.”

Julia Cheever, Bay City News

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