Barry Bonds Trial: What Does Guilty On Obstruction Of Justice Mean?

Now that Barry Bonds has been found guilty of obstruction of justice, the question becomes what all this means. First off, right now it would seem like the government will take this particular victory and move on. The jury was hung on the three counts of perjury, although quite close to getting Bonds on Count 2, finishing at 11-1. The government could elect to re-try Bonds, but given that acquittal was much closer on the first three charges, I would be rather shocked if that happened.

Bonds was found guilty on count five, which involved obstruction of justice as it related to a variety of statements he made to the grand jury. The guilty verdict was found based on his rambling statements about his celebrity childhood. As per the jury instructions, here are the pertinent statements. The underlined statements are the ones that are considered material testimony that was intentionally evasive, false or misleading:

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? ... 
Q: Right. 
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...

The defense is going to file motion for a directed verdict and a new trial because of the concern that Bonds was found guilty of obstruction justice without lying about the steroids stuff. They were concerned about this statement in the jury instructions and it will be interesting to see how the Ninth Circuit views this instruction on appeal. There were concerns about the clarity of AUSA Nedrow's in the grand jury transcript and it's possible that's what led to the guilty verdict.

This obstruction of justice charge can come with prison time, but I'd say the odds of Bonds going to prison are slim. I could see some kind of community service, a fine, and not a whole lot else. At the end of the day, the prosecution can claim a "victory" with the guilty verdict, while the defense claims victory because Bonds was not convicted on anything that related to steroids or PEDs. He was convicted of being evasive to questionable questions. As you can read from that, all in all this was a waste of time and money.

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