U.S. appeals court to take another swing at Barry Bonds criminal case

Tue Jul 1, 2014 3:01pm EDT
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By Dan Levine

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Baseball home run king Barry Bonds has convinced a U.S. appeals court to reconsider his criminal conviction for obstructing a grand jury probe into steroid sales, according to a court filing on Tuesday.

The case involves testimony Bonds gave to a grand jury in 2003 about whether he used steroids to help him bash more long balls when he was trying to break his sport's all-time home run records. Last year, a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco affirmed a conviction against him for obstruction of justice.

The 9th Circuit has vacated that ruling, and a larger, 11-judge panel will now reevaluate whether his testimony amounted to obstruction of justice.

"Mr. Bonds’s challenge to his conviction is alive and well," said his attorney Dennis Riordan.

After seven seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates, Bonds played for the San Francisco Giants from 1993 until he retired in 2007 as Major League Baseball's career home run leader with 762. He also holds the single-season record with 73 homers in 2001, and won the National League's Most Valuable Player award a record seven times.

But suspicions over drugs tarnished his legacy, and he has not been admitted into the sport's Hall of Fame.

The U.S. Justice Department had urged the 9th Circuit to leave its previous ruling in place. A government spokeswoman declined to comment on the court's latest order.

In 2003, Bonds responded to a question about whether his former trainer, Greg Anderson, had given him self-injectable substances by telling grand jurors about his childhood.   Continued...