SAN FRANCISCO – Lawyers for Barry Bonds asked a federal judge Wednesday to overturn his April 13 conviction for testifying falsely to a grand jury about drug injections.
Arguing that jurors used an out-of-context statement to find him guilty of a non-criminal act, Bonds’ attorneys are asking Judge Susan Illston to overturn the only guilty verdict returned by a federal jury.
Jurors found Bonds was evasive regarding a question of whether or not his personal trainer, Greg Anderson, injected him with drugs. Baseball’s all-time home run leader was convicted on the basis that he gave a rambling answer in response. The jury in effect said Bonds evaded the question by discussing his friendship with Anderson, talking about being a “celebrity child with a famous father,” Bobby Bonds.
Anderson had refused to testify on the government’s behalf, serving more than a year in jail for contempt of court.
Bonds’ attorneys said in Wednesday’s motion that prosecutors continued to ask Bonds about injectable drugs, and that on three occasions Bonds “flatly denied” that Anderson or anyone aside from his physician had ever given him such drugs.
In the motion, Bonds’ attorneys stated that “there is no legal authority for the proposition that truthful but ‘evasive’ statements … can constitute obstruction of justice.”
Arguing that the charge requires proof that a witness testified falsely or tried to hide the truth, Bonds’ attorneys say that a defendant cannot be convicted of obstructing justice “when he temporarily gives a truthful but unresponsive answer before directly and fully answering the same question moments later.”
Bonds’ attorneys want Illston to either find him not guilty or to order a retrial of the obstruction charges.
Federal prosecutors, meanwhile, can seek to retry Bonds of three other perjury charges on which the jury deadlocked.
Bonds will next be in court on June 24.