Barry Bonds' lawyer seeks to overturn conviction

Thu Feb 14, 2013 11:41am EST
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By Ronnie Cohen

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - A lawyer for Barry Bonds told an appellate court on Wednesday that it should strike down the home run king's felony obstruction of justice conviction tied to a probe of steroids in sports.

"There's not a shred of evidence that Mr. Bonds was ever given anything to inject himself with or that he ever injected anything," the player's attorney, appellate specialist Dennis Riordan, told the court.

At least one of three judges on the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel appeared skeptical Bonds committed a crime.

Bonds, 48, who played for the Pittsburgh Pirates and the San Francisco Giants, is the most accomplished Major League Baseball player caught up in a scandal over performance enhancing drugs.

Last month, Bonds and pitcher Roger Clemens were denied entry to the Baseball Hall of Fame, in what was seen as a referendum on players who compiled outsized statistics during the sport's so-called Steroids Era.

In 2011, Bonds was sentenced to two years probation and 30 days of confinement to his palatial home after a jury convicted him of one count of obstruction of justice relating to his 2003 appearance before a grand jury. The jury deadlocked on three other counts of lying to a grand jury, and the district court judge stayed the punishment pending appeal.

The criminal charges stemmed from Bonds' sworn testimony before a federal grand jury investigating the Bay Area Laboratory Co-operative, or BALCO.

During the appeals court hearing held on Wednesday in San Francisco, Judge Michael Daly Hawkins asked a federal prosecutor how exactly Bonds might have misled the grand jury when he responded to a question about injectable steroids by giving a rambling answer about being a "celebrity child with a famous father," in former baseball All-Star Bobby Bonds.   Continued...

Former San Francisco Giants outfielder Barry Bonds leaves the U.S. federal courthouse following his sentencing hearing in San Francisco, California December 16, 2011. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith