SAN FRANCISCO (CBS / AP) — Prosecutors on Thursday urged a federal appeals court to uphold former major league slugger Barry Bonds’ obstruction of justice conviction.
The Thursday filing is in response to the home run record-holder’s attempt to overturn a felony conviction for misleading a grand jury. The filing with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals says Bonds’ conviction is correct because he gave “false, evasive and misleading” testimony in December 2003.
A jury found Bonds guilty in April 2011 but couldn’t decide on three other charges of making false statements, which prosecutors then decided not to pursue. The federal prosecutors also argue that U.S. District Judge Susan Illston properly instructed the jury, despite Bonds’ arguments to the contrary.
Besides alleging erroneous jury instructions, Bonds argues that he was convicted for giving a rambling and irrelevant—but truthful—answer to a grand jury question about whether his personal trainer ever provided him with an injectable substance.
Bonds replied that he was a “celebrity child” rather than answering the question directly. Bonds’ father was Bobby Bonds, a 13-year major league veteran and three-time All Star.
Prosecutors countered Thursday the obstruction conviction, which was known as “count five” of his indictment, arose from a “catch all” charge that alleged Bonds’ entire testimony was meant to mislead the grand jury investigating sports doping.
“Contrary to Bonds’s attempts to interpret it as such, Count Five did not charge him with the act of obstructing justice through particular statements he made to the grand jury, but through intentionally evasive, false, and misleading testimony,” prosecutor Merry Jean Chan wrote.
A three-judge panel of the court will issue a decision later, after hearing oral arguments.
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