Prosecutors Considering Appeal to US Supreme Court to Reinstate Bonds Conviction

Federal prosecutors have announced they are considering appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court to reinstate the obstruction of justice conviction of former San Francisco Giants slugger Barry Bonds.

In a filing Tuesday with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, lawyers from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Northern California asked the circuit court to delay finalizing a ruling last week that overturned Bonds’ conviction.

The prosecutors said they are considering whether to ask the U.S. Solicitor General’s Office – which must approve all government appeals – to allow them to appeal the 9th Circuit ruling.

The deadline for filing a petition for review with the high court is July 22.

In the April 22 decision, a panel of the appeals court ruled by a 10-1 vote that prosecutors in Bonds’ 2011 federal trial in San Francisco failed to prove that a rambling answer Bonds gave to a grand jury in 2003 amounted to obstruction of justice.

The grand jury was investigating the distribution of performance-enhancing drugs to professional athletes by the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative, or BALCO.

Bonds was convicted in the 2011 trial of obstructing justice by giving the grand jury an allegedly misleading answer when asked whether his trainer, Greg Anderson, ever gave him anything to inject himself with.

In the response, Bonds did not answer the question directly and described himself as the “celebrity child” of a baseball-playing father.

The appeals court majority said there was insufficient evidence that Bonds’ statement was material, or relevant, to the grand jury’s probe and thus an obstruction of justice.

The federal prosecutors said in Tuesday’s filing they believe there is a “substantial question” as to whether there was in fact sufficient evidence for the conviction, under legal standards that require higher courts to view trial evidence in the light most favorable to the prosecution.

The prosecutors noted that Bonds’ defense attorneys have stated they do not object to the requested delay in finalizing the 9th Circuit decision.

Bonds, 50, played with the Giants from 1993 to 2007 and during that time set the Major League Baseball career home run record of 762, as well as the single-season record of 73 in 2001.

He has already served his sentence of one month of home confinement and 250 hours of community service for the obstruction conviction.

Julia Cheever, Bay City News

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