SAN FRANCISCO – Federal prosecutors said on Thursday they haven’t reached a decision on whether to re-try ex-Giants slugger Barry Bonds on three perjury charges that he allegedly lied to a grand jury about whether he knowingly used performance-enhancing drugs.
At the hearing, U.S. District Judge Susan Illston allowed prosecutors more time to make their decision on those counts which a jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict.
Bonds, who is baseball’s all-time leading home run hitter, was convicted on one count of obstruction of justice by a federal jury on April 13. The jury ruled that Bonds testified evasively to a 2003 grand jury about drug injections.
Despite a witness’ direct testimony that she saw Bonds injected by his personal trainer, Greg Anderson, the jury deadlocked on three additional perjury charges.
Bonds’ attorneys, who are pressing for a retrial to begin shortly, have previously asked prosecutors for a decision on a possible retrial. His attorneys have also requested that Judge Illston rescind the obstruction verdict based on the April 13 conviction being inconsistent with the jury’s deadlock on the other counts.
Both sides are awaiting Illston’s ruling on Bonds’ motion to reverse the conviction.
It would be premature, the judge said in court, to make a decision on the defense requests since federal prosecutors have yet to decide on a possible retrial on mis-tried counts.
In a court filing on Wednesday, prosecutors asked for a delay in any ruling so as to avoid the possibility of separate trials – one retrial on the three perjury counts and the other on reversing Bonds’ conviction. Prosecutors called it a “needless waste of resources at public expense.”
In the only unanimous decision reached by the federal jury, Bonds was found to have evaded the answer to a question on whether or not he had ever been injected with performance enhancing drugs by anyone other than a doctor.
His answer at the grand jury inquiry was rambling and did not refer to drugs. Instead Bonds referred to his life as a “celebrity child with a famous father,” alluding to his dad, Bobby Bonds, while also discussing his friendship with trainer Anderson.
Anderson had refused to testify, which led to more than a year in jail for contempt of court.
Though the jury found his answer evasive, defense attorneys countered that “unauthorized rambling is not a federal crime.”
Neither the prosecutors nor Judge Illston gave time frames on when to expect rulings.