Friday, April 8, 2011
Barry Bonds Facing 3-2 Pitch In Court Room! Update 4-11
We've held up on an update because we hate to say we told you so... but we already foreshadowed this trial over three years ago. MITCHEL REPORT. Barry Bonds case is now in the hands of the jury after the Defense chose to call no witnesses. Closing statements aren’t evidence and typically they are not all that persuasive in most cases. But they do give the audience an outline of what the lawyer's think was important during the evidence phase of trial. The prosecutor’s theme was “all he had to do was tell the truth.” True enough statement. But did the prosecution meet their burden by proving beyond a reasonable doubt the basis for the alleged lie? With perhaps the exception of the single charge relating to injections, did anyone testify that “Barry lied?" If Barry Bonds was a rampant steroids user who knew that what he was doing was wrong, then why didn't someone testify as such in the courtroom?
The defense argued that the prosecution was a vendetta against Bonds. Prosecution witnesses were labelled as ex-friends or scorned lovers. Bonds was definitely intended to be "made an example." Why was it so important to tear down one of the last remaining sports heroes? Even if Bonds was not completely truthful, a guilty verdict may seem excessive given the relative insignificance of performance enhancing drugs. What real significance is there that a star baseball player took performance enhancing drugs when thousands of weekend athletes and weight lifters regularly take performance enhancing supplements without any real threat of prosecution? BALCO was already punished. Bonds' testimony did not prevent the prosecution of the "dealers." Kathy Hoskins testified she saw Bonds injected. But that alone does not prove that Bonds knew the injection contained an illegal steroid. Cortisone is legal. Growth hormone is not a steroid. In the end, was this trial much to do about nothing?
Again, is it really so important to destroy every American sports hero? Is there so much harm in kids admiring comic book super heroes that come to life in the athletic arena? The jury may soon reveal the answers.
Update 4-11-11: There are three charges of lying to a grand jury and one count of obstruction of justice. If convicted on any of the charges, federal sentencing guidelines recommend a prison sentence of between 15 and 21 months.
Update 4-14-11: And the pitch... it is a check swing called a third strike. But wait a minute, there is an appeal to the field umpire.... a federal court jury found Bonds guilty only on the obstruction of justice charge. Under oath, rather than say "yes" or "no" to whether he received drugs that required a syringe, Bonds gave a rambling response to a grand jury, stating: "I became a celebrity child with a famous father." U.S. District Judge Susan Illston declared a mistrial on the three charges that Bonds made false statements when he told a grand jury in December 2003 that he never knowingly received steroids from trainer Greg Anderson. Either Illston or the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will decide whether to overturn the lone conviction. Furthermore, federal prosecutors must decide if there is any point in wasting any more of the taxpayer's dollars by retrying Bonds for a second time on the deadlocked charges. Let's hope this contest is finally over.