NEW YORK — Barry Bonds’ obstruction of justice conviction was thrown out Wednesday by a federal court of appeals, which ruled 10-1 that his meandering answer before a grand jury in 2003 was not material to the government’s investigation into illegal steroids distribution.
“Real-life witness examinations, unlike those in movies and on television, invariably are littered with non-responsive and irrelevant answers,” Judge Alex Kozinski wrote.
Bonds, whose 762 home runs broke Hank Aaron’s long-standing career record of 755, was indicted in 2007 for his testimony four years earlier before a grand jury investigating the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative.
“Today’s news is something that I have long hoped for,” Bonds said in a statement. “I am humbled and truly thankful for the outcome as well as the opportunity our judicial system affords to all individuals to seek justice. … I am excited about what the future holds for me as I embark on the next chapter.”
Jessica Wolfram, one of the jurors who convicted Bonds following the three-week trial and four days of deliberations, said she couldn’t help but feel the decade-long prosecution was “all a waste, all for nothing.”
“Just a waste of money, having the whole trial and jury,” she said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press.
In 2009 and 2010, the 9th Circuit ruled federal agents illegally seized records and urine samples of major league players, with Kozinski ruling then it “was an obvious case of deliberate overreaching by the government.”
Judges in the Bonds case based their decision on legal issues involving witness testimony, not the underlying facts.
Thumbnail image via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images