The legal saga of former San Francisco Giants outfielder Barry Bonds, accused eight years ago of perjury and obstruction in a steroids investigation, came to an official end today.
Federal prosecutors today informed the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco that they will not appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court for review of a 9th Circuit ruling overturning Bonds’ sole conviction.
Lawyers from the office of U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag said in a filing that the U.S. solicitor general, who determines whether to appeal federal cases to the Supreme Court, decided not to appeal the circuit court decision.
The prosecution decision not to appeal further means that Bonds is cleared of all charges.
Bonds, who will turn 51 on Friday, was accused in a 2007 indictment of perjury and obstruction of justice in 2003 before a grand jury that was investigating the distribution of performance-enhancing drugs to athletes by the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative, or BALCO.
After lengthy proceedings that included three revisions of the indictment, Bonds was convicted at a federal trial in San Francisco in 2011 of one count of obstruction of justice. He was acquitted of three other counts of making false statements.
Bonds and his defense team of six lawyers appealed, first to a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit and then to a rarely convened 11-judge panel of the same court.
Although the smaller panel upheld the conviction in 2013, the expanded panel overturned the obstruction conviction by a 10-1 vote on April
22 of this year.
The court said that prosecutors hadn’t proved that Bonds had obstructed justice by giving the grand jury a rambling response in which he described himself as the “celebrity child” of a baseball-playing father.
The response was in answer to a question as to whether his trainer, Greg Anderson, had ever given him anything to inject himself with.
Bonds has already served his sentence of one month of home confinement and 250 hours of community service.
Bonds is the only one of 11 people charged in the BALCO case left without a conviction. The others who were charged, including athletes, Anderson and other trainers, BALCO officials and a chemist, all pleaded guilty or were convicted at trial of charges of either illegal distribution of drugs or lying before the grand jury.
Bonds 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.
In his 2003 testimony, Bonds admitted to the grand jury he had taken substances known as “the clear” and “the cream” from Anderson but said he thought they were flaxseed oil and arthritis ointment.
The substances were later identified as so-called designer steroids that had been engineered to be undetectable.
Julia Cheever, Bay City News