SAN FRANCISCO – Home run king Barry Bonds was found guilty of obstruction of justice in a verdict reached Thursday, but a federal jury deadlocked on three counts of perjury in a long-awaited conclusion to a case that started eight years ago.
The jury, one that included eight women and four men, found that Bonds lied to a grand jury when he denied knowingly using steroids and human growth hormone eight years ago.
In effect, the jury ruled that Bonds hindered the government’s sports doping investigation by lying at a 2003 grand jury that was investigating the activities of the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Op (BALCO).
The verdict came after nearly four full days of jury deliberations that followed a 12-day trial.
Prosecutors charged that Bonds lied when he denied knowingly taking steroids and HGH. Bonds was also accused of lying when he said no one other than his doctor ever injected him.
Ten people have been convicted in connection with the BALCO probe that led to the lab’s founder, Victor Conte, and Bonds’ personal trainer, Greg Anderson, spending time in federal prison.
Only two took the government to court, including track coach Trevor Graham and cyclist Tammy Thomas, who chose jury trials. Graham was convicted of one charge of lying to federal investigators, but a jury could not reach a verdict on two other counts. Thomas was convicted on four charges and acquitted on two.
Olympic sprinting and long jump champion Marion Jones also spent nine months in a federal prison for lying to investigators about performance enhancing drugs.
According to a court release, jurors in Bonds’ case were asked to decide if he was being evasive when he made any one of seven statements to the 2003 grand jury panel. The release said that Bonds was convicted on a single statement the jury deemed evasive, an answer to a question about injections in which Bonds discussed being the son of former major leaguer Bobby Bonds and his early relationship with Anderson.
But the jury ruled that Bonds did not address performance enhancing drugs.
The jury tallies were 8-4 for acquittal on count one of the perjury charge, 9-3 to acquit on count three and, on count two, an 11-1 guilty vote.
Bonds’ defense team requested that federal Judge Susan Illston throw out the guilty verdict. Illston set May 20 for a hearing in the case.
There is a possibility that Bonds could be re-tried on the three perjury charges, according to prosecutors.