Will Barry Bonds End Up In A Federal Prison?

I have not paid any attention to this story until just the past few days, and I know next to nothing about Barry Bonds or this case except for the fact that Bonds is generally thought to be one of the biggest assholes in the history of all professional sport, (which is obviously really saying something, considering some of his fellow pro athletes) but it sounds like the federal prosecutor has a pretty strong case against ol’ Barry Bonds, and I was just wondering if any of you have any insight on what you think is likely to happen.

Even if he was so inclined, is it too late for BB to get a plea deal at this point?

If he is found guilty, will he serve time?

If he is sent up the river, how long would he likely be put away for?

Finally, is Barry Bonds an egotistical asshole, richly deserving of prison for perjury, or just another guy who did what everyone else was doing, and is only being made an example of?

As much as I’d like to see it, I don’t think it’s going to happen.

The short version is that the government was investigating BALCO years ago. Some athletes admitted getting steroids from BALCO, others were called to testify but didn’t admit anything. Bonds told the grand jury that he did not knowingly use steroids. The government says he’s lying. And it’s a lead pipe cinch he’s lying, but it’s hard to prove. They don’t have a lot of evidence (Bonds’ ex-girlfriend is testifying and so is one of the Giants’ trainers; but Bonds’ own trainer has repeatedly been thrown in jail for contempt because he won’t testify). Bonds committed to his story a long time ago and he’s not going to cop a plea at this point.

Bonds is not the only one they’ve gone after. Marion Jones also said she didn’t use PEDs. She wound up in jail for perjury.

Yes, and yes. (Those two statements aren’t mutually exclusive. :slight_smile: )

I get daily updates on the case, not that I actively seek it out. His lawyers are apparently doing a good job roughing up prosecution witnesses, and key evidence was thrown out because Greg Anderson, that magnificent bastard, chose jail over testifying against his friend.
Even if convicted, the judge has said the sentence won’t be any longer than others in the case, and the longest sentence so far is only a few months.

More than one “insider” type interviewed on the local sports talk radio station has said although they loath Bonds, they hope he gets off. EVERYBODY and their brother were in on it with steroids in baseball.

In my opinion, the most compelling evidence against Bonds is the testimony of his ex-girlfriend, who said that Bonds told her he was using steroids. The defense is trying to portray her as disgruntled and vindictive about their past relationship.

The prosecution has introduced a lot of evidence that Bonds was indeed using steroids and human growth hormone, and that the effects (and side effects) of these drugs were pronounced. The implication seems to be that, with all this going on, Bonds had to have known he was using performance enhancing drugs.

I don’t think it’s a very strong case. Perjury is hard to prove because it involves the state of mind of the accused. It’s not enough to prove that Bonds said something untrue under oath - the prosecution has to prove that he knew it was false when he said it.

That last isn’t true, but even if it were–Bonds isn’t on trial for using steroids.

See also Roger Clemens’ upcoming perjury trial.

Yes he is. The charge might be perjury, but this is entirely about him using steroids.

Re-reading my original statement, it could come across as me saying everybody was using steroids. I meant everybody was culpable. Anyone inside an MLB locker room would have to bury his head deep in the sand a long time to be able to avoid the fact that there were 'roided up players. Every locker room, every team, and everyone knew (including Godell).

In that that’s what Bonds lied about, yes, it’s about steroids. People who didn’t lie, like the Giambis, are not on trial.

That’s true. It was so obvious the commissioner of football knew about it. :wink:

Personally, I hope they throw him into the deepest, darkest pit available and let him rot there, but that’s more for him being a Giant than being a liar. :stuck_out_tongue:

I think he has a better than 50/50 chance of not being convicted. The charge is that he lied under oath. But he’s got a little wiggle room. He says he never knew that he was taking steroids.

So yeah, he was probably using them, but I believe the “I really didn’t know what Greg (his personal trainer,working out of BALCO) was stooting in my fanny - i just trusted him” may be his defense. And for what ever reason Greg Anderson has not and will not testify against Bonds.

I don’t know what the defense has planned, but it it may come down to what his girlfriend knew and when. But that’s a classic he said/she said. And I guess the defense took off the gloves on her cross exam.

And the trial is not the big media event here that you might expect. Overall Bonds is still a star here. But who knows what the jury thinks. It only took them one day to select the jury.

God, I hope not. What good will that do? Just slap him with a stiff fine; he can afford it.

There is a strong interest in obtaining a conviction for message value. Letting a famous person escape punishment for lying under oath–as virtually everyone is convinced that he did–really does not look good.

I haven’t been following closely, but my assumption has been that they believed they had a good case and good odds for conviction.


Depends on who you ask. Anderson could be annoyed the the government is still asking him for testimony (he plead guilty to steroid dealing and money laundering in 2005 and may have thought he would be left alone after), he could be very loyal to Bonds, or he could be expecting to be paid in exchange for his silence.The New Yorker suggested this month that the government may go after him for obstruction of justice after the Bonds case is over. He’s been found in contempt of court and been sent to jail three or four times for refusing to testify, and the government does not look kindly on that.

Anderson has already spent over a year and a half in jail on contempt charges for refusing to testify. He’s spent so much time in jail already that it’s hard to see what they could threaten him with. How much time could he get for obstruction of justice?

Also, why would prosecutors wait until the Bonds case is done to charge Anderson with obstruction? If their larger goal is to convict Bonds of perjury, wouldn’t it be more effective to charge Anderson before the Bonds case goes to trial?

Upon actually educating myself about this: OK, he should probably go to jail for the whole perjury and obstruction of justice thing; I didn’t know about that. I don’t think he should go to jail for simply using steroids, but the rest of it might merit a short jail sentence.

He can only be jailed for contempt while the grand jury is convened, I think. He should be out in two weeks or so since this trial is expected to last two to four weeks. He could get ten years for obstruction. (I read that part in the Times, not the New Yorker.) His refusal to testify is a big deal; it forced the prosecution to drop a bunch of charges. Bonds is probably looking at only a few months if convicted.

I’m not sure. It could be a matter of focusing on one thing at a time, or it could be that the results of the Bonds case will affect how they handle Anderson. Between his own criminal charges and an IRS raid, they’ve tried everything to get him to testify, and since he obviously won’t, they may want to send a message about that, too.

This is a HUGE waste of time for the courts and later for congress with Roger Clemens.

That said, yes, Bonds IS a huge jerk. I don’t care if he did the steroids, but perjury is a different zebra. I’m sure Anderson is being paid out the wazzu for his silence by Bonds. But it seems to me that this whole case is about three things: BALCO, Anderson and the ego of Barry Bonds. It is not really about the steroids. MLB has to find a better method of testing so this can’t happen so often.

They have. By the time the steroid story had really broken out into wide public attention, beyond baseball fandom, the league was already moving (yes, too late and too slow) in the right direction. The Bonds exposé and the Congressional attention forced the league and the Players’ Association to revise their program in several steps. The testing program that began in 2006 was an improvement over the effectively unregulated circumstances of most of Bonds’ career. The current policy (PDF) since 2009 is a significant tightening-up from there. Good policies were already in place in the minor leagues, with no players’ union objecting on “privacy” grounds. No doubt there’s room for further refinements (just as Olympic drug-testing procedures are periodically adjusted), but the Steroid Era in baseball is over. I reckon the game is “cleaner” now than it had been for thirty-five years preceding.

I am pretty sure Bonds can make a deal as long as the prosecution is willing to offer one.

With that said, Bonds ego may put him behind bars. We all know he took roids and HGH. Hell, how did he explain to himself that his skull and feet grew so much he needed new shoes and a new hat? Why he is fighting this is beyond me. He can’t be deluded into thinking anyone is going to believe he didn’t take PED’s. So what’s the point?

Nobody cares anymore. That ship has sailed. He holds the home run record for some, but for folks like me, I’ll always look at Aaron as the games record holder. And until someone that isn’t juiced hits 62, I’ll still look at Maris. (It makes you REALLY appreciate what Ruth did in his day).

Two guys should see prison time. Bonds and Clemens. Will they? Only if they go the distance with their trials. I believe they will both be given every opportunity to get out of jail time for admitting their lie.

I’m not sure who the bigger asshole is between Bonds and Clemens, but they both lied under oath, and that is a big deal. At least it should be.