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Barry Bonds jury explains verdict

Barry Bonds’ criminal trial in San Francisco came to a close when a jury of eight women and four men found the slugger guilty of the one count of obstruction of justice but were deadlocked on the three remaining counts of perjury.

Jurors were interviewed afterward by ESPN legal analyst Mark Fainaru-Wada and gave their reason for the guilty verdict. They said they believed the totality of Bonds’ testimony before the 2003 grand jury was evasive and evasiveness amounted to criminal obstruction of justice.

They cited one example specifically; when the player was asked a direct question about injections and instead of answering the question he rambled about how difficult it was to be a “celebrity child” of Bobby Bonds and be friends with Greg Anderson’s.

To prove criminal obstruction, the government had to show that his lies impaired their ability to investigate BALCO Labs distribution and sale of illegal steroids. The jury bought the argument that overall, Bonds’ refusal or inability to give straight forward answers added up to criminal obstruction.

Jurors also offered information about why they were deadlocked on the three perjury counts. One count charged that he lied when he said he didn’t know what he was taking when given the designer steroids called Cream and Clear. Jurors deadlocked at 8-4 for acquittal on that charge.

During this trial, Bonds’ defense team did such a good job during cross-examination of the main prosecution witnesses that jurors didn’t believe they were credible even if no other witnesses contradicted their testimony. This resulted in the group convicting him on only one count out of four, after more than three days of deliberations.

One witness, Kathy Hoskins, Bonds’ former personal assistant testified that she saw Greg Anderson inject Bonds in his home, prior to a road trip but didn’t know what was in the syringe.

One of the perjury counts claimed that Bonds lied when he said no one other than his personal physician ever injected him with anything. Hoskins was not contradicted by any other witness or evidence but one of the jurors deadlocked the panel from convicting him on that charge. After court was adjourned for the day, jurors revealed that 9 of 10 in the jury room voted to convict but the lone holdout said she did not trust Kathy Hoskins.

Why not?

Because she is the sister of Steve Hoskins, the ex-business partner of Bonds who was accused of embezzlement during the time they worked together. Hoskins was another prosecution witness the defense destroyed under cross-examination after the prosecution called Dr. Arthur Ting to the stand. Ting was Bonds’ orthopedic surgeon who was supposed to support Hoskins’ testimony that he and Ting spoke at least 50 times about Bonds, steroids and the connection between the illegal substances and Bonds’ elbow injury in 1999.

Ting contradicted all of Hoskins’ claims, shocking the prosecution who felt he betrayed them. The defense was instructive in taking Ting through all of Hoskins’ accusations and deconstructed almost every one, leading the jury to believe Hoskins was not a credible witness.

Used with permission of the author.

Paula Duffy is a national sports columnist for Examiner.com and the Huffington Post and regularly comments on sports/legal matters for radio affiliates of ESPN and Fox Sports. She founded the sports information site, Incidental Contact, is the author of a line of audio books designed for sports novices and in her spare time practices law in Los Angeles.

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