By Leland Stein III –
U.S. District Judge Susan Illston declared a mistrial on the three charges that MLB homerun king Barry Bonds made false statements when he told a grand jury in December 2003 that he never knowingly received steroids and human growth hormone from trainer Greg Anderson.
The decision from the eight women and four men who listened to testimony during the 12-day trial left more questions than answers. Charged with four federal felony counts, he was found guilty of one obstruction of justice.
Did Bonds use steroids?
Maybe, but it seems like almost everyone did. If you believe former slugger Jose Canseco, who seems to have been right about all of his claims, about 70 percent of the big leaguers were on the using.
In 2003, Bonds did testified in front of a grand jury that he unknowingly used “the cream” and “the clear,” compounds used to relax a person’s muscles. Federal agents do not believe him, so in 2007 Bonds was indicted on four counts of perjury and one count of obstruction of justice.
Where is the Tea Party scream bloody murder? In tight fiscal times why are we letting the government spend over $10 million to go after a baseball player for something that happened eight years ago?
Would putting Bonds in jail make life safer for my children or I? Heck no! With crime running rampant does expending all these resources change anything? The man has not beat up any old ladies or car jacked anyone. If anything he only hurt himself.
I do not want my federal government spending millions of dollars of our tax money chasing a harmless baseball player, who conviction would be a fly on an elephant’s behind in terms of improving the quality of life for Americans.
Is race a factor in this?
It is interesting that the only athlete to go to prison so far over steroids is former track star Marion Jones, who is black. Even though the majority of baseball players are white, a black baseball player is the one who was facing prison time.
A White US cyclist Tammy Thomas only got six months house arrest in 2008 for felony convictions of lying to a grand jury about steroids.
You tell me what is happening here. Are we going back to the old axiom: “Justice is just us?” Another reason the Feds are wasting my money to get a baseball player is that they are mad at him for being him?
A defense lawyer for former slugger Bonds suggested at his federal perjury trial that “cagey” prosecutors tried to set him up during his 2003 grand jury appearance and were miffed that the former San Francisco Giant refused to be intimidated.
Two “highly trained” prosecutors fired questions at him, tried to mislead him, and “clearly tried to intimidate him,” Allen Ruby, Bonds’ lead lawyer, told jurors in closing argument. But Bonds was “not intimidated.”
“A lot of the venom in the government pursuit here is because he was not intimidated," Ruby told reporters. “He did not say, ‘Yes sir.’ He was not subservient.” He also denounced “some of the pettiness” that really is at the root of this important proceeding.
Ruby said prosecutors used unreliable witnesses to corroborate other unreliable witnesses.
Among them, Ruby said, was Kathy Hoskins, who shopped and packed for Bonds and testified that she once saw Bonds’ personal trainer inject him in the navel.
Defense lawyers argued that she was trying to protect her brother Steve Hoskins, who became a government witness against Bonds after Bonds complained to the FBI that Hoskins stole money from him.
Cristina Arguedas, another defense lawyer, told jurors that government agents failed to make proper reports or document evidence and withheld information from the jurors.
“How much time and money have they spent proving that Barry Bonds had acne and bloating… and impotence, and -- their favorite subject -- testicle shrinkage,” Arguedas said.
She reminded jurors that Bonds was taking prescribed corticosteroids, which had most of the same side effects as anabolic steroids, but prosecutors never told jurors that.
At one point, Arguedas raised the topic of “jury nullification,” a term used for times when jurors ignore the law and decide a verdict based on their view of justice.
“This is a false statements case, let’s all remember that,” Arguedas said. “I’m here because Kim Bell admitted she committed perjury about the size of Barry Bonds’ testicles.”
Kimberly Bell, Bonds’ girlfriend of nine years, told a grand jury that Bonds’ testicles shrank by half as a result of steroid use. She admitted during the trial that her statement was inaccurate and explained it was just an estimate.
What’s the point in all this? The Feds manufacture a case on two women’s shaky retorts . . . give that $10 million to my school district or me please.
Leland Stein can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.