Friday, July 20, 2012

Barry Bonds appeal

AP reports:
Prosecutors on Thursday urged a federal appeals court to uphold former major league slugger Barry Bonds's obstruction of justice conviction. ...

A jury found Bonds guilty in April 2011 but couldn't decide on three other charges of making false statements, which prosecutors then decided not to pursue. ...

Prosecutors countered Thursday the obstruction conviction, which was known as "count five" of his indictment, arose from a "catch all" charge that alleged Bonds' entire testimony was meant to mislead the grand jury investigating sports doping.

"Contrary to Bonds's attempts to interpret it as such, Count Five did not charge him with the act of obstructing justice through particular statements he made to the grand jury, but through intentionally evasive, false, and misleading testimony," prosecutor Merry Jean Chan wrote.
A "catch all" charge? That's the feds' best argument? If the feds are going to imprison Bonds for lying, then they ought to be able to produce some example of a lie. Apparently they cannot.

As I have argued, Bonds was convicted and sentenced not for lying, but for giving an evasive answer to a question. It appears from the transcript that Bonds misunderstood the question, and the prosecutor accepted his answer as complete. Under US law, even a deliberately evasive answer cannot be perjury. It was the proscutor's responsibility to ask a direct question.

Nearly everyone seems to agree that Bonds is guilty, and yet no one can specify exactly what he is guilty of. The 9th Circuit should reverse his conviction.

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