Alert the women and children that they can go out into the streets once more, as justice was served.
A summary of a few positions on the Bonds conviction for obstruction of justice. (I think the jurors believed that his larger hat size obstructed their view of the courtroom and that was sufficient to vote “yes”.)
George Dohrmann at SI
Attorney Clarence Darrow once wrote that, “there is no such thing as justice — in or out of court.” Barry Bonds would probably agree, as might federal prosecutors, after the perjury trial of the former Giants outfielder ended on Wednesday in what could only be described as a draw.
After 16 days of speeches, testimony, more speeches and then deliberations, there was no defining verdict, no “Say it ain’t so!” moment for Bonds or for the government officials who pursued him for more than seven years. Instead, a jury of eight women and four men came to a confusing conclusion that left both sides unsatisfied.
Faced with the question of whether Bonds lied before the BALCO grand jury in 2003 when he said he didn’t knowingly take anabolic steroids or human growth hormone, the jurors couldn’t decide. To the charge that Bonds provided false testimony when he stated that no one other than a doctor had ever injected him, they offered no answer.
The only verdict that the jurors rendered was to find that Bonds obstructed justice by providing an evasive answer to one question. In short, they found Bonds guilty of rambling, of dancing around a question, of being (for anyone who has ever interviewed him can attest) Barry Lamar Bonds.
Jayson Stark at ESPN:
So let’s get this straight. The only thing we’ve learned about Barry Bonds is that he was evasive? The government could have assembled a panel of distinguished baseball writers to convict him on that charge like 15 years ago. So THAT’S what The Trial of the Home Run King has taught us? I’ve never felt prouder of the fine work my tax dollars have been doing all this time.
If that doesn’t swell your pride in being an American, it’s hard to imagine what else would.
Craig Calcaterra at Hardball Talk has numerous posts (here, here, here and here) that rely on his legal background – and unlike Lester Munson, he apparently put some thought into the analysis. The highlight is the statement on which Bonds was convicted of obstruction of justice.
It’s being reported that the basis of the obstruction conviction was the jury finding that Bonds obstructed justice with respect to his “Statement C” as listed in Count 5. The underlined part of the following is “Statement C”
Q:Did Greg ever give you anything that required a syringe to inject yourself with?
A:I’ve only had one doctor touch me. And that’s my only personal doctor. Greg, like I said, we don’t get into each others’ personal lives. We’re friends, but I don’t – we don’t sit around and talk baseball, because he knows I don’t want – don’t come to my house talking baseball. If you want to come to my house and talk about fishing, some other stuff, we’ll be good friends, you come around talking about baseball, you go on. I don’t talk about his business. You know what I mean? …
A: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…
That is the answer that, according to the jury, obstructed justice. This despite the fact that the government lawyers questioning him had every opportunity to follow up, to clarify and to tell Barry Bonds that he wasn’t answering their question. An opportunity that they didn’t take, presumably because at the time they didn’t think that the answer Bonds gave was particularly problematic.
So: Bonds saying that he was a “celebrity child” who didn’t get into anyone’s business obstructed justice and brought down a prosecution over seven years in the making.
You cool with that?
Now we wait for May 20thand sentencing and/or an appeal. Don’t think for a minute that the Bonds legal team and the government will cease their actions.
Meanwhile, I wonder about football player Ray Lewis, who was convicted of obstruction of justice in a murder investigation and is now the subject of a national ad campaign for Old Spice– and basketball player Chris Webber, who was charged with obstruction of justice (charges were reduced due to the death of a witness).
I haven’t heard a peep about their fitness for their respective Halls of Fame.