Court reverses Bonds’ obstruction conviction

San Francisco, CA ( – A federal appeals court reversed Barry
Bonds’ 2011 conviction on obstruction of justice — a charge tied to testimony
the former slugger gave in a steroids case 12 years ago.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals made its ruling Wednesday, seven months after
rehearing the case and four years after Bonds was convicted of being evasive
during his 2003 grand jury testimony in the BALCO case investigating
performance-enhancing drug use in sports.

The court voted last July to revisit the case after previously ruling in
September 2013 that there was sufficient evidence to convict Bonds, who is now

At issue was what the court called “a rambling, non-responsive answer to a
simple question” during Bonds’ 2003 testimony, when he was asked if his
personal trainer ever gave him anything that required a syringe to inject

Bonds’ answer — referred to as “Statement C” in court documents — is what
drew the obstruction of justice conviction from a jury.

But the appeals court found there was insufficient evidence that his statement
was material to the government’s investigation of steroids, ruling it must be
vacated and that Bonds may not be tried again on that count.

He was also charged with four counts of making false statements, but the jury
was unable to reach a verdict on those charges.

Bonds, who broke Major League Baseball’s single-season and all-time home run
records while playing for the San Francisco Giants, was sentenced in 2011 to
30 days of house arrest, two years of probation, 250 hours of community
service and a $4,000 fine. He retired following the 2007 season.

He was questioned in 2003 for almost three hours about his suspected use of