Friday, November 16, 2007

High Noon

Barry Bonds was indicted yesterday by a federal grand jury on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice. This is the culmination of a four year investigation into the Balco doping scandal and Bonds' connection to the former San Francisco lab.
It seems a roundabout way to get to Bonds (like getting Al Capone for not filing his taxes), but he was granted immunity from prosecution for actually taking steroids when he orginally testified in the Balco case. In fact, if Bonds hadn't allegedly lied in his testimony, he would not be facing federal charges. There is also still the possibility that Bonds will be indicted on tax evasion charges stemming from unreported income from baseball memorabillia shows.

So where does this leave Mr. Bonds? He faces the remote possibility of decades in jail if he is found guilty of all the charges against him. There isn't a team that would sign him while he has the cloud of possible jail time hanging over him. For now his last home run on 2007 may in fact be his last home run for a while, maybe forever. This indictment comes a year too late for Bud Selig, who would have been happy to suspend Bond while this situation played itself out in the courts. He would have had his fingers crossed that Bonds was convicted and served time, so that Hank Aaron's record could have been preserved. The home run record does belong to Bonds now and no one can take that away.

He is a man currently in limbo however. He has more than enough money to assemble the best team of lawyers possible to combat these charges. I would think that it would be a long shot for Bonds to do any time based on this indictment. The only thing that could make jail time a reality for Bonds is if his personal trainer were to testify against him. Bond's trainer Greg Andserson has spent the better part of the last 18 months in prison because he refused to give testimony to the Grand Jury that was considering the Bonds case. He could singlehandedly prove the states case against Bonds by admitting that he not only provided illegal steroids to Bonds, but injected him with the substances as well. And that Bonds knew exactly what was being done. But being stuck in jail for months on end has done nothing to make him more talkative to date. I can't imagine that he would begin to talk any time soon, especially now since he has been released from prison. The Grand Jury session has ended, so he is no longer in violation of their order to provide testimony. If Bonds actually goes to court, however he will be once again ordered to testify. If he refuses at that point, he will probably be held in contempt of court and shipped off to jail once again.

It's amazing to me that Bonds has engendered such loyalty in an ex-employee. There are others who will be willing to testify to Bonds' drug use. His ex-girlfriend has already given numerous interviews where she detailed some of his drug use and she would also be a main witness against Bonds if he were ever brought up on tax evasion charges. Bonds' attorneys will argue that her testimony is tainted because of the acrimonious break up between the two, but it will be up to a jury to decide who to believe at that point.

I predict that Bonds will actually walk on these charges unless Greg Anderson does a 180. Money can't buy you innocence in the eyes of the public, but can buy you reasonable doubt in front of a jury. Even with a not guilty verdict however, I don't beleive that he will be playing baseball anytime in the near future and almost certainly not in a major league baseball uniform. If he is hell bent on continuing his baseball career, he may find an easier time of things in Japan, but if I were a betting man (and I've told you time and time again that I'm not) 762 is probably the number that Arod will have to beat to become the all time home run king.



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