Barry Bonds guilty of obstruction

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Barry Bonds.
Image: A1C Charles Beutler.

Barry Bonds, a United States baseball player, has been found guilty of one count of obstructing justice for giving an evasive answer to a federal grand jury under oath when asked whether he had ever received drugs necessitating a syringe.

The judge declared a mistrial on three other obstruction of justice counts, the three charges that Bonds made false statements when he said to a grand jury in December 2003 that he never knowingly used steroids or human growth hormones given to him by his personal trainer, and that he permitted only doctors to give him injections.

The charge that Bonds was convicted of does not mention steroids.

The conviction comes after a seven year prosecution of Bonds, stemming from the investigation of Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (BELCO) begun in 2002. Bonds appeared in an advertisement for BELCO which was reportedly selling designer steroids and other drug paraphernalia to professional athletes. Thirty athletes were called to answer questions before the grand jury. Bonds had been given immunity for his testimony.

"This case is about upholding one of the most fundamental principles in our system of justice—the obligation of every witness to provide truthful and direct testimony in judicial proceedings," said federal prosecutor Melinda Haag. "In the United States, taking an oath and promising to testify truthfully is a serious matter. We cannot ignore those who choose instead to obstruct justice. We will decide whether to seek a retrial of the defendant on the remaining counts as soon as possible."