SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)— The BALCO Steroids case continues now that attorneys for Barry Bonds have said they are appealing his obstruction of justice conviction to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.
The home run champion was spared a prison sentence Friday as a federal judge in San Francisco sentenced him to 30 days of home confinement and two years of probation for obstructing a grand jury probe of steroids distribution.
Bonds, 47, was also ordered by U.S. District Judge Susan Illston to provide 250 hours of community service and pay a $4,000 fine.
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Some see the appeal as not just a legal maneuver, but one designed to eventually get the former Giants slugger into baseball’s Hall of Fame.
KCBS’ Mark Seelig Reports:
However, Bonds’ attorney Dennis Riordan said there in fact is a legal reason for the appeal.
“At the moment he is branded a felon, we think unjustly,” Riordan said.
But CBS News Legal Analyst Andrew Cohen weighed in on what he felt were the professional reasons.
“There’s also this idea that he needs to fight the appeal because maybe if he wins he can clear his name and then he gets more consideration in the world of baseball,” Cohen said.
San Jose Mercury sports columnist Mark Purdy understands the logic behind the appeal for Bonds, who comes up on the Hall of Fame ballot starting next year.
“He somehow believes even though this conviction was not technically about whether he used steroids or not. He believes that if it is overturned it will somehow make people believe that he’s totally innocent.”
Purdy analyzed that many people still equate Bonds with baseball’s steroid era, even though he was never found guilty of taking performance enhancers.
Purdy, a Hall of Fame voter himself, said anyone even remotely connected to steroids won’t get his support until all the facts are known.
The sentence had been recommended by the court’s probation department in a presentencing report.
The report is confidential, but Illston said it described years of charitable contributions quietly made by Bonds.
“The thing that was striking to me was that most of that was out of the public eye,” she said.
Prosecutors sought a penalty of one year and three months in prison, while Bonds’ defense team had asked for probation and community service.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Parrella argued that a non-prison sentence would be “a slap on the wrist” and said Bonds was “unapologetic and unrepentant.”
The appeal to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals could take a year or more.
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