Former San Francisco Giants slugger Barry Bonds asked a federal judge Tuesday to order him to serve on probation, rather than a prison term, when he is sentenced next week for obstructing justice before a grand jury eight years ago.
Bonds, 47, who holds Major League Baseball’s career home run record, will be sentenced on Dec. 16 by U.S. District Judge Susan Illston in San Francisco.
He was convicted by a jury in Illston’s court in April of obstructing justice by giving evasive testimony before a federal grand jury on Dec. 4, 2003, when asked whether his trainer, Greg Anderson, ever gave him anything to inject himself with.
The trial jury deadlocked on three other counts in which Bonds was accused of lying when he said he never knowingly took steroids or human growth hormone. Prosecutors later dropped those charges.
The obstruction conviction carries a possible maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, and federal guidelines recommend a sentence of 15 to 21 months.
But Bonds lawyers noted in a sentencing brief filed with Illston Tuesday that the court’s probation department has urged a sentence of probation, together with a requirement for community service.
The department’s presentencing report is not a public document but Bonds’ brief notes that the report recommends the probation sentence on the ground that Bonds’ conviction appears “to be an aberration when taken in the context of his entire life.”
The presentencing report also cites Bonds’ charitable and civic contributions, according to Bonds’ brief.
Prosecutors are expected to file their sentencing recommendation later this week.
The 2003 grand jury was investigating the sale of steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs by the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative, or BALCO.
Three other sports figures who pleaded guilty or were convicted of lying or obstructing justice in connection with the probe were sentenced by Illston to probation or a combination of probation and home confinement.
Julia Cheever, Bay City News