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04-14-11, 12:24 PM #1
Barry Bonds convicted of Obstruction of JusticeBarry Bonds, the former outfielder who hit more home runs than anyone else in Major League Baseball history, was convicted Wednesday of a single count of obstruction of justice, but a federal jury could not decide on whether Bonds lied about using performance-enhancing drugs.
The conviction, rendered by a jury that listened to nearly three weeks of often-graphic testimony about Bondsís suspected steroid use, amounted to an extremely limited victory for federal prosecutors who had spent years pressing their case in an effort to establish that Bonds used steroids during his career, then lied about it under oath.
Still, the jury agreed that Bonds in 2003 had impeded a grand jury investigating performance-enhancing drug use by elite athletes by giving intentionally evasive, false or misleading statements during his testimony. Jurors felt he went out of his way to avoid answering the question of whether his former personal trainer, Greg Anderson, had ever injected him.
The conviction on the obstruction of justice charge, one of four counts he was facing in United States District Court, made Bonds the most prominent publicly tried culprit in what has become known as baseballís steroid era. The verdict is certain to diminish the legacy of a player who seemed, even early in his career, to be destined for the sportís Hall of Fame.
Bonds, 46, faces a possible sentence of 10 years in federal prison, but he is not expected to receive anywhere near that length of prison time, if any. The other three charges he faced ó including allegations that he lied to a grand jury when he said he never used steroids or human growth hormone ó also carried 10-year maximum sentences. But the judge, Susan Illston, declared a mistrial on those counts.
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