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Barry Bonds found guilty of obstruction of justice

Last week, a federal jury convicted former Pittsburgh Pirate Barry Bonds for a single count of obstruction of justice. Bonds was convicted of the federal offense, though the jury became deadlocked regarding three other charges involving whether Bonds lied to a grand jury regarding an investigation of steroid use in sports.

Following the trial, jurors told reporters that they had been deadlocked with an 11-1 vote in favor of the conviction for charges that Bonds lied regarding receiving an injection from a party aside from his doctors. The jurors said that they were more strongly divided on two additional counts of Bonds lying regarding his use of performance-enhancing drugs.

The jury said that they were wary of believing the statements of witnesses that were hostile towards Bonds, including an old friend and business associate, and a former mistress.

In order to get a conviction of lying before a grand jury, the prosecutors needed to prove that Bonds knowingly gave false testimony, and that said testimony was important to the ongoing steroids investigation.

For the obstruction of justice charge, the prosecutors only needed to show that Bonds' testimony was evasive, false or misleading. In answering a question regarding whether his trainer had given him a syringe for the purpose of injections, Bonds said that only one doctor had touched him. When describing his friendship with his trainer, he said that it did not involve baseball.

In a follow up interview, one of the jurors said that she found Bonds' answers to be evasive and unclear.

Source: Westlaw News, "Barry Bonds convicted of obstructing justice," Laird Harrison, Dan Levine and Braden Reddall, 4/14/2011

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