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Bonds Steroid Obstruction Gets Second Appeal Court Review

Former MLB Player Barry Bonds
A file photo shows former Major League Baseball player Barry Bonds surrounded by members of the media as he leaves federal court following a sentencing hearing on December 16, 2011 in San Francisco, California. Photographer: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Barry Bonds, Major League Baseball’s home run record holder, won a second chance to persuade an appeals court to throw out his criminal conviction for obstructing a federal grand jury probe of athletes’ use of steroids.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco on Sept. 13 upheld Bond’s conviction for making evasive and misleading statements to the grand jury. Today, the full court voted to revisit that decision after Bonds sought the review in October.

After his conviction was upheld, Bonds was ordered to confer with the probation office about serving his sentence, which was to include 30 days of home confinement, 250 hours of community service and a $4,000 fine. Bonds already served the home confinement and paid the fine, according to Dennis Riordan, a lawyer for Bonds.

Today’s order means a majority of the appeals court determined that Bonds’s appeal of his conviction deserves more attention, Riordan said in a statement. The three-judge panel’s ruling affirming the conviction no longer has any legal effect, Bonds’s challenge of his conviction is “alive and well” and will be argued in September, he said.

Bonds, a former San Francisco Giants outfielder was named most valuable player a record seven times. He broke Hank Aaron’s record of 755 career home runs in August 2007. Bonds was indicted in November of that year on perjury and obstruction charges.

U.S. District Judge Susan Illston declared a mistrial on the perjury counts after the jury couldn’t agree on whether Bonds was lying when he denied knowingly taking performance enhancing drugs.

Lillian ArauzHaase, a spokeswoman for U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag, declined to comment on today’s ruling.

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

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