When thinking about people I have absolutely zero sympathy for, Barry Bonds shoots right to the top of the list. That’s why I laughed out loud when I heard that baseball’s all-time home run king* is attempting to have his felony conviction for obstruction of justice overturned.
Bonds’ lawyer Dennis Riordan argued before a federal appeals court on Wednesday that a rambling answer the slugger gave while testifying before a grand jury shouldn’t have amounted to a crime. A federal jury convicted Bonds of obstruction of justice in 2011 for evading an answer about injecting steroids.
During a December 2003 grand jury appearance, Bonds was asked whether his personal trainer Greg Anderson had ever given him anything he had to inject with a syringe. Bonds turned the answer into a weird rambling response that, frankly, makes no sense. He said the following:
“…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…”
That statement was not originally included in the indictment issued in November 2007, and Riordan argued that is the “dagger in the heart of the conviction.” He also claimed that Bonds ultimately answered the question by eventually denying receiving anything to inject.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Merry Jean Chan countered that Bonds’ denial was a lie because his former personal assistant Cathy Hoskins testified that she had witnessed Anderson inject Bonds. Chan said that Bonds’ denial and other awkward answers avoided the question and therefore amounted to obstruction of justice.
In these types of cases getting a conviction overturned is incredibly difficult. The three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals will likely defer to the jury’s decision unless some kind of bombshell is dropped in the appeals process. There is a small chance they could overturn the felony but it is unlikely.
If Bonds’ conviction is upheld, he will have to serve 30 days under house arrest. Something tells me he’ll survive that harsh punishment.
*Anyone who legitimately looks at Bonds as baseball’s home run king is a moron