Bloomberg News

Barry Bonds Should Get 15-Month Prison Term, U.S. Tells Judge

December 12, 2011

Dec. 9 (Bloomberg) -- Barry Bonds, Major League Baseball’s career home-run record holder convicted of obstructing a U.S. probe of steroid use by professional athletes, should serve 15 months in prison, U.S. prosecutors said.

Prosecutors, in a filing yesterday in federal court in San Francisco, said they disagreed with a court pre-sentencing report that recommended Bonds receive a sentence of two years probation, a $4,000 fine and 250 hours of community service even though the guidelines call for a prison term of 15 to 21 months. The former San Francisco Giants left fielder hadn’t taken responsibility for his crime, the U.S. said.

“Bonds’s pervasive efforts to testify falsely, to mislead the grand jury, to dodge questions, and to simply refuse to answer questions in the grand jury makes his conduct worthy of a significant jail sentence,” prosecutors said in the filing.

Bonds, 47, was convicted of obstruction for his response before a federal grand jury when asked if his trainer, Greg Anderson, ever gave him anything that required a syringe for injection. Bonds didn’t immediately say yes or no and in a 146- word response, he spoke about being a “celebrity child” who didn’t “get into other people’s business.”

Jurors were unable to agree in April on whether Bonds lied when he told a grand jury in 2003 that he didn’t knowingly take steroids, didn’t take human growth hormone and didn’t receive injections from Anderson. A mistrial was declared on those counts.

‘Good Works’

Lawyers for Bonds argued in a Dec. 6 court filing that Bonds’s “history of good works” and other factors justify a sentence of probation. Bonds is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 16.

Only one of four people convicted in a federal investigation of steroid use among professional athletes, former track star Marion Jones, received a prison sentence, the lawyers said. The maximum sentence for obstruction of justice is 10 years in prison.

Bonds broke Hank Aaron’s record of 755 career home runs in August 2007. He was indicted the following November on charges of lying to the grand jury.

Bonds’s attorneys said at trial that he truthfully testified that he received performance-enhancing substances from Anderson without knowing what they were because the drugs were new at the time and Anderson told him one was flaxseed oil.

The case is U.S. v. Bonds, 07-00732, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco).

--Editors: Michael Hytha, Dex McLuskey

To contact the reporter on this story: Nancy Kercheval in Washington at nkercheval@bloomberg.net Karen Gullo in San Francisco at kgullo@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at msillup@bloomberg.net; Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net


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