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Bonds Asks to Avoid Prison on Steroids Probe Obstruction Verdict

Former Major League Baseball Player Barry Bonds
Former Major League Baseball player Barry Bonds leaves federal court on April 13, 2011 in San Francisco. Photographer: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Barry Bonds, Major League Baseball’s career home-run record holder convicted of obstructing a U.S. probe of steroid use by professional athletes, asked a judge to sentence him to probation and not prison.

Lawyers for the former San Francisco Giants left fielder said in a filing yesterday that they agreed with a court pre-sentencing report recommending the lesser sentence. Bonds’s “history of good works” and other factors justify a sentence of probation, according to the filing in federal court in San Francisco. Bonds is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 16.

Only one of four people convicted in a federal investigation of steroid use among professional athletes, former track star Marion Jones, received a prison sentence, the lawyers said. The maximum sentence for obstruction of justice is 10 years in prison.

The court report recommends probation, a period of home confinement, location monitoring and community service directed at youth-related activities, Bonds’s attorneys said in the filing. Bonds doesn’t believe the recommended period of location monitoring is necessary, they said. The filing doesn’t disclose the length of probation or monitoring recommended for Bonds by the court’s probation department.

‘Celebrity Child’

Bonds, 47, was convicted of obstruction for his response before a federal grand jury when asked if his trainer, Greg Anderson, ever gave him anything that required a syringe for injection. Bonds didn’t immediately say yes or no and in a 146-word response, he spoke about being a “celebrity child” who didn’t “get into other people’s business.”

Jurors were unable to agree in April on whether Bonds lied when he told a grand jury in 2003 that he didn’t knowingly take steroids, didn’t take human growth hormone and didn’t receive injections from Anderson. A mistrial was declared on those counts.

Bonds broke Hank Aaron’s record of 755 career home runs in August 2007. He was indicted the following November on charges of lying to the grand jury.

Bonds’s attorneys said at trial that he truthfully testified that he received performance-enhancing substances from Anderson without knowing what they were because the drugs were new at the time and Anderson told him one was flaxseed oil.

The case is U.S. v. Bonds, 07-00732, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco).

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