Feds End Obstruction Case Against Barry Bonds

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – The obstruction of justice case against Barry Bonds ended Tuesday when the federal government informed an appeals court that it would not ask the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn a ruling that reversed his conviction.
     An 11-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in April found “insufficient evidence” that Bonds’ rambling, non-responsive answer to a simple question was “material” and that his conviction was therefore not supported by the record.
     Since reversal for insufficient evidence implicates a defendant’s rights under the Double Jeopardy Clause of the U.S. Constitution, Bonds’ conviction and sentence was vacated and he can’t be tried again on the same count.
     Tuesday’s filing by the Justice Department lifts a stay and formally ends the criminal case that was filed in 2007.
     Bonds testified before a grand jury in 2003 after a raid on Bay Area Laboratory Cooperative (BALCO) yielded evidence of doping in professional sports.
     Bonds, testifying with immunity, answered questions about his own steroid use with incoherent statements about his father and being a “celebrity child.”
     Prosecutors later indicted Bonds for perjury and obstruction. Jurors agreed that he had obstructed justice with the “celebrity child” answer, but deadlocked on the perjury charges.
     The full statement for which he was convicted was prompted by the question whether former trainer Greg Anderson ever gave Bonds anything that required a syringe to inject.
     Bonds answered, “That’s what keeps our friendship. You know, I am sorry, but that -you know that – I was a celebrity child, not just in baseball by my own instincts. I became a celebrity child with a famous father. I just don’t get into other people’s business because of my father’s situation, you see.”
     A three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit denied Bonds a reversal last year, leading him to petition for an en banc rehearing in November 2013. The court granted that request last summer.
     Bonds is represented by Dennis Riordan, a partner with Riordan & Hogan in San Francisco. Riordan did not reply to a request for comment by press time.
     Today’s filing was signed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Merry Jean Chan, whose San Francisco office declined to comment.

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