After nearly four days of deliberation and two weeks of Barry Bonds’ perjury trial, the jury found the slugger guilty of obstruction of justice but was unable to yield a verdict on three other charges. Though Bonds is not off yet — there’s a hearing set for May — he should be thanking his lawyers, our jurors, and trainer Greg Anderson for helping his case.
Bonds was being tried for four offenses all saying he lied to the grand jury. Three counts were related to Bonds lying about being injected (one count each for steroids, HGH, and being injected period), and the fourth count was obstruction of justice. The jury found Bonds guilty of obstruction of justice but nearly acquitted him on the other three charges.
The jurors convicted Bonds for refusing to answer the question directly when asked if his trainer, Greg Anderson, ever gave him anything to inject. Bonds answered with a response about being the child of a celebrity. They felt since he didn’t answer that question directly that he was obstructing justice. The problem is they didn’t feel they had enough evidence to confirm he was injected. They discredited the testimony of Bonds’ personal shopper who says she saw Bonds get injected by Anderson, and they discredited his former girlfriend’s words that he talked about using steroids.
The real problem for prosecutors is that much of the evidence they had was not allowed in the trial. They couldn’t use the voicemails Bonds left for his girlfriend, and they couldn’t use a clubhouse recording from Anderson where he talked about steroids. And the biggest problem of all — and biggest smoking gun in the case — is that Bonds’ trainer, the one person who could most directly implicate Barry, was sitting in jail for refusing to testify.
Bonds may be facing 15-21 months in jail for the obstruction charge, but he likely won’t have to serve a day. He can thank our legal system for its innocent until guilty presumption, difficulty in cross examination, and the way its allowed good lawyers to leave doubt in the heads of jurors. Most of all, what stands out about this case is that for everything wrong and unlikable that Barry Bonds has done, the one thing he did well was pick his trainer. While Brian McNamee and Kurt Radomski yielded half the Mitchell Report, Barry’s trainer Greg Anderson was willing to sit in jail to protect him. That’s either friendship and loyalty, or a whole lot of money. Or both.
You can actually hear my thoughts on the matter as I talk baseball with New Era Radio. Check it out.Google+