Was the Bonds prosecution worth it?
Lawyers will be back in court on May 20 to debate whether Barry Bonds should be retried on the perjury counts.
April 14th, 2011
04:26 PM ET Was the Bonds prosecution worth it?

After 16 days of testimony and deliberations, the Barry Bonds trial saga ended in the most anticlimactic of ways, with no clear winner emerging from the courtroom. Assigned to determined whether the legendary ball player had lied before the BALCO grand jury in 2003 and had given false testimony, jurors were unable to reach a conclusion, deadlocking Wednesday on three perjury counts.

The jury did find Bonds guilty of one count of obstruction of justice, a charge that alleged he  avoided answering certain questions. But was this small victory for the prosecution - one that may not require jail time for the eight-time Golden Glove winner - enough to justify spending millions of taxpayer dollars? Was the prospect of key prosecution witness Greg Anderson refusing to testify insignificant enough to pursue the charges against Bonds anyway?'s George Dohrmann isn't so sure:

"Bonds wasn't the only one who crossed a line. The government knew long ago that Anderson would not testify and chose to prosecute Bonds anyway," Dohrmann writes. "For some, that stands as the greater injustice. The time and taxpayer dollars spent pursuing Bonds could have been spent more wisely given that Bonds is unlikely to spend more than a few months in prison, if any at all. (No sentencing date was announced; the defense is likely to appeal the verdict.) Sure, the publicity from his case might serve as a warning to others who consider lying before a grand jury, but a public-service announcement during, say, a Super Bowl broadcast, would have cost less and been far more effective."

For baseball fans, this is far from the last courtroom drama to play out. Roger Clemens’ trial on charges he lied before Congress is slated for a July start and will surely attract the same amount of attention that Bonds' case did.

Up Thursday night:

Montreal Canadiens vs. Boston Bruins (7 p.m. ET) - Montreal and Boston will square off Thursday at TD Garden in a battle between goalies Tim Thomas and Carey Price.


32 - Number of saves Penguins' goalie Marc-Andre Fleury made during Pittsburgh's 3-0 victory against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

$100,000 - Amount Kobe Bryant was fined for an anti-gay slur he directed toward a referee during the Lakers' game against the Spurs on Tuesday night. Bryant later apologized for his outburst.

$ 300 million - Amount the NFL wants to divert from first-round draft picks to veteran players.

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Filed under: Barry Bonds • Baseball • Sports
soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. Kenneth Krieger

    NO.NO.NO. Bonds was willing to do anything to become what he thought was great. Henry Aaron set an example far beyond the Base Ball Hall of Fame. People look up to him. Our federal government needs to go after real drug pushers. A waste of time like this reflects on the federal proscuters and the Obama administration for allowing it. Ken Krieger Cape Coral, Florida

    April 14, 2011 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Dim Mak

    @Kenneth: I agree with your point that the US needs to go after the dealers and not users, but if anyone lied to the feds about anything they would be charged. Let Baseball deal with Bonds and other steroid users. A federal probe for steroids is ridiculous even though I do consider steroids to be an unfair advantage but if Barry like limp sausage its not my business.

    April 14, 2011 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
  3. schmez

    To hell with Barry Bonds.His arrogant, contemptable and selfish behavior that was admissable in court got him exactly what he deserves. The federal prosecution overcame many obstacles raised by top-notch legal counsel and a typically liberal San Francisco federal judge and convinced a jury of Bonds' transgressions. Today's weasel sports press probably still would have voted Bonds in the Hall of Fame had no conviction taken place. If that had happpened, reinstate Pete Rose and allow "Shoeless" Joe Jackson in the HOF.

    April 14, 2011 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Canadian Genius

    I really don't like this guy. He personifies everything that is wrong with pro sports. But what is the point of convicting him and sending him to jail?

    April 14, 2011 at 5:10 pm | Report abuse |
  5. banasy

    They convicted him of one charge. Was it worth it? Probably not. Will it deter others? Probably not. Should they retry him on the charges the jury was hung on? Absolutely not.

    April 14, 2011 at 6:27 pm | Report abuse |
  6. raven

    I guess they kinda,sorta,maybe,perhaps made a point.somewhere.

    April 14, 2011 at 7:04 pm | Report abuse |
  7. banasy

    @raven: now...if we can only figure out what that point is...

    April 14, 2011 at 8:00 pm | Report abuse |
  8. raven


    April 14, 2011 at 8:24 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Philip

    Yes it was worth it. Why? I gave Major League Baseball's head M.D. the opportunity to publicly, in open-session, question Congress concerning their allowing Meat and Dairy corporations to use steroids (an illegal practice used only by greedy and crooked ranchers until Congress made it legal in 1994...a banner year for the Meat and Dairy lobby) Of course when the good Dr. brought this to attention, he was told that they weren't assymbled to discuss that. I'm still waiting for them to assymble and discuss this. It's obviously more important than home runs.

    April 14, 2011 at 9:11 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Philip

    P.S...some of you may have noticed that, since 1994, cattle aren't the only ones getting fatter.

    April 14, 2011 at 9:13 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Philip

    "It" gave rather.

    April 14, 2011 at 9:22 pm | Report abuse |
  12. ?

    (but I'm not a racist, really)

    April 14, 2011 at 9:57 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Homer

    How is the government going to make a public service announcement that would "cost less and be far more effective"? What would the commercial say – "you're totally not supposed to lie on a grand jury, but don't worry we can't prosecute you since that would cost too much money!"

    You either have to eliminate the whole "swearing to tell the truth" oath, or spend the money to prosecute people who blatantly lie and thumb their nose at the system.

    April 15, 2011 at 2:31 am | Report abuse |
  14. Julian Boone

    A troubling thought I have had for years is why the government chose not to issue a subpoena for testimony by Mr. Anderson From the very beginning. A witness to an. alleged crime or crimes does not have the luxury of saying they will not testify in a criminal trial. They must appear as a witness in court and tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth or risk purjury. Simply stating that they choose not testify is not an option.

    Even government prosecutors, during their climb toward higher political power, know that much. It is first year law school homework. Ask yourself what would motivate a prosecutor to relinquish this power in the prosecution of Bonds. Subpoena power has been used in trying criminal cases in the United States for 287 years yet comes to a screeching halt in the prosecution of Bonds while mister anderson is afforded an unheard of privilege that Joe Sixpack would never the granted in a criminal case since there is no right to refuse to testify.

    You can be certain of one thing. If allegations against Bonds were handled like a typical criminal trial then Mr. Anderson would be in jail for contempt of court. Apparently all the good Journalists are asleep because even a cub reporter would smell a rat in this case.
    There is a much higher motivation the government not to convict Bonds then to convict

    April 15, 2011 at 2:32 am | Report abuse |
    • Homer

      What are you talking about? Anderson has been thrown in jail TWICE for contempt of court for refusing to testify against Bonds

      April 15, 2011 at 2:42 am | Report abuse |
    • Homer

      2nd reply: Anderson has already served more time in prison for refusing to testify than Bonds himself would spend in prison if Anderson DID testify against him. At this point they basically just stopped throwing him back in prison because it's reaching the point of cruel and unusual punishment to be thrown in jail 3 times for the same thing

      April 15, 2011 at 2:44 am | Report abuse |
  15. Cesar


    April 15, 2011 at 7:00 am | Report abuse |
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