Barry Bonds, Major League Baseball’s home-run record holder, asked a federal judge to throw out his conviction for making evasive statements to a grand jury in 2003, saying “unauthorized rambling is not a federal crime.”
Bonds was convicted of obstructing justice in federal court in San Francisco in April for statements he made to a grand jury when asked whether his trainer ever gave him anything that required a syringe injection.
In a response of about 130 words, Bonds said his personal doctor touched him, he didn’t talk baseball with his trainer and because he was a “celebrity child with a famous father” he didn’t “get into other people’s business.”
Federal prosecutors said the statement was evasive and impeded the work of the grand jury. Bonds’s father, Bobby Bonds, was a three-time All-Star who played for eight teams including the Giants and the New York Yankees.
“Even if some ‘truthful but evasive’ statements could constitute obstruction, Mr. Bonds’s ‘celebrity child’ statement was, at worst, a digression -- a bit of meandering from the question that was explicitly encouraged by the questioner,” Bonds said in a motion filed today in San Francisco federal court.
Bonds answered the same question repeatedly elsewhere in his testimony, according to the filing. If he isn’t acquitted, Bonds should get a new trial on the obstruction charge, according to the motion. A hearing on Bonds’s request was scheduled for July 1, according to a court filing.
Unable to Agree
Jurors were unable to agree on whether Bonds lied when he told a grand jury in 2003 that he didn’t knowingly take steroids and didn’t take human growth hormone or receive injections by his trainer. A mistrial was declared on those counts.
Federal prosecutors haven’t said whether they plan to retry Bonds on any of the three perjury charges he faced during trial. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeff Nedrow didn’t immediately return a voice-mail message.
Bonds, 46, who broke Hank Aaron’s record of 755 career home runs in August 2007, was indicted in November of that year. He was the first Major League ballplayer to be charged in a years- long federal probe of steroid use in professional sports.
The case is U.S. v. Bonds, 07-00732, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco).
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