Bonds Defense Rests After Perjury Count Tossed

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS 5 / KCBS) — In a surprise move, the defense in the federal perjury trial of home-run champion Barry Bonds in San Francisco rested its case Wednesday without calling any witnesses.

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“The defense rests,” attorney Allen Ruby told the jury just minutes after U.S. District Judge Susan Illston tossed out one of the five criminal counts against the former San Francisco Giants slugger.

Ruby had told Illston on Tuesday afternoon that Bonds’ attorneys
were considering calling up to six witnesses, including possibly Bonds

The jury of eight-women and four men was sent home and ordered to return Thursday to begin deliberations after hearing closing arguments and instructions from the judge.

KCBS’ Doug Sovern Reports:

The judge approved the request to drop one of the charges, which prosecutors made after it became clear the judge was going to rule that they failed to prove Bonds lied when he denied taking anything other than vitamins from his trainer, Greg Anderson, before the 2003 Major League Baseball season.

Anderson has refused to testify at the trial and was jailed for contempt of court until the trial ends.

Bonds admitted inadvertently taking designer steroids “the clear” and “the cream” in 2003, saying that he thought they were flaxseed oil and an arthritis ointment — but denied any use before then. None of the prosecution’s witnesses tied Bonds to use of the designer steroids, that were engineered to be undetectable, before 2003.

It was a limited victory for Bonds, 46, who still faces three counts of making false statements and one count of obstructing justice in 2003 testimony before a federal grand jury investigating the distribution of steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs by the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative, or BALCO.

Two counts accuse him of lying about knowingly taking performance-enhancing drugs, a third charges him with lying about being injected by anyone but his doctors and the last is the catchall obstruction charge.

He faces the same punishment if convicted of any of the four charges remaining.

“The dismissal is one less bullet to dodge on the liability side,” said defense attorney William Keane, who represented track coach Trevor Graham when he was accused of making false statements. “If Mr. Bonds is convicted on one or more of the remaining counts it will not have much of an impact on his ultimate sentence.”

Photo Gallery: Barry Bonds Through The Years

Legal analysts said Bonds likely faces a realistic maximum of about 15 months in prison if convicted, but likely would be sentenced to about a year of house arrest. That’s the same punishment elite cyclist Tammy Thomas received for lying to the same grand jury when she denied taking steroids.

The judge on Wednesday also ruled that the jury would be allowed to consider testimony that Bonds’ testicles shrank, which prosecutors claim is a side effect of steroid use. Bonds’ attorneys sought to bar consideration of that testimony after Bonds’ former mistress Kimberly Bell admitted that she exaggerated the degree to which Bonds’ testicles shrank when she testified before the grand jury.

The judge also turned down Bonds attorneys’ request to toss out the testimony of Colorado Rockies first baseman Jason Giambi and three other former athletes as irrelevant. None of the players testified directly about Bonds. Instead, they told the jury that Anderson supplied them with steroids and human growth hormone and detailed instructions on how to use them.

While playing for the Giants, Bonds set baseball’s single-season home-run record in 2001 and the career home-run record in his last season in 2007.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services may have contributed to this report.)

  • mary

    so what? Larry Ellis drives down HWY 280 at over 100mph and has his lawyer waiting at his home driveway. if it was anyone else, the car would have been impounded and his license pulled. it is a blatant disregard for the law. Barry Bonds is small potatoes compared to LE. But you don’t see the DA making an issue out of that do you?

    • Chris Pepper

      Do you mean Larry Ellison?

    • KC

      This isn’t some local county DA; it’s a federal lawyer who has a bug up his butt about Bonds. This guy has spent millions of dollars over the last several years trying to get Bonds on something, anything.
      Personally, I think the guy did use steroids, but can’t really prove it.

  • Big G

    Well at least the Defense isn’t going to waste taxpayers time or money, unlike some Justice Atty’s are doing. It’s pretty clear that the Gov’t has done a terrible job & this took 8 years to get them to finally rest there case. This seemed more like Soap Opera on trashing Barry’s life,instead of trying to convict of a serious crime. Seriously what was the end game in this. Why was this allowed to continue from the top on down? Heads should roll with this. In the same building as Barry’s trial is a real trial going on. Gang related, murder, extortion, etc. & then the one getting the most attention is that Barry lied!!! Really!!!

  • skysky

    The entire investigation and trial is an enormous WASTE of precious resources in any economy.
    How exactly does this serve to benefit the taxpayers who are footing the bill?
    How is the public any better off by prosecuting Bonds?
    What we really need protection from is overzealous and egotistical prosecutors who don’t know when to stop.
    Bonds is retired and his record is tainted which is sufficient punishment. Stop wasting the taxpayers money.

  • Lee White

    The federal prosecutors who brought this case have wasted many millions of dollars on this worthless case. I hope their names are exposed and their careers destroyed to the point that they end up peeing themselves and begging change in the Tenderloin. The government needs to be taken down a notch and that’s the way you do it: One megalomaniac at a time. And I’m certainly not a fan of Barry Bonds.

  • Rider

    So the former mistress has admitted she lied to the Grand Jury about the testicle-shrinkage issue. Has SHE been indicted for lying to the Grand Jury?

    If taking the steroids was illegal, indict Bonds for that. If not, why are we spending the tax money to go after the alleged lying to the Grand Jury. This is the same as Martha Stewart, where they couldn’t prove she had engaged in securities fraud, so they went after the same kind of perjury claim.

    Can I get a pro-rate refund of my taxes, please?

  • Warren

    Bonds, if you get acquitted, you should donate some money into the reward to catch those animals who bashed that Giants fan at the Dodgers game last week. If one Giants fan go down, we all go down. Can’t believe the Giants organization are not doing more about tis. The dude was a Giants die-hard fan and now he is in a coma. The reward should be $500K rather than $50K.

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