Bonds 2, Feds 0, Bottom of the Ninth Inning
When his 15 Federal indictments first came down, it seemed like Barry Bonds would spend at least a few Summers in the confines of a Federally mandated corrections facility. Magically, or by a lack of solid witness to evidence match-ups, the indictment numbers suddenly began to lessen until 5 indictment remained when the case first went to trial.
It seemed like the U S District Attorney’s office decided to trim their previous indictment list to the best case scenario charges that could get a conviction to stick to MLB’s All Time Home Run leader like pine tar. The prosecutor seemed to have a solid game plan, sending 25 different witnesses to the witness over the last 2 ½ weeks to try and prove beyond a shadow of a doubt, the intention and deception by Bonds.
In another interesting twist of fate, the Federal prosecutor today asked U S District Judge Susan Illston to dismiss another one of the Government’s once concrete charges. Within a minutes time, Bond’s total indictment had been trimmed to 4 now with the prosecution resting it case, and his defensive team about to take their whacks in the box.
The charge dropped today concerned Bond’s testimony back in 2003 when he was accused of lying to a Grand Jury in regards to his testimony he took nothing but vitamins from former Giants trainer Greg Anderson. At no time during the trial did the government prove with any clarity that Bond’s was given Tetrahydrogestrinone (THG) in either injectable or “Clear” or “Creme” form.
Swing and a miss by the government. It was a pure back-door slider that exploded through the box and they missed it big time.
The 8 women, 4 men jury did not even get comfortable in their chairs before Bond’s defense attorney strutted to the front of the courtroom and announced the defense was going to rest, without calling a single witness.
A very brazen and confident move considering Bonds, if found guilty could be ultimately facing up to 10 years in prison for each charge. Reality is that according to Federal sentencing guidelines, Bonds could actually face only possible 15-21 months of Federal confinement if convicted.
The four charges still remaining against Bonds are:
Bonds lying about receiving performance enhancing steroids from Anderson.
Bonds lying about receiving growth hormones from Anderson.
Bonds making a false statements that only a “doctor” injected him.
Bonds is accused of obstructing justice.
But even with these 4 charges still remaining on the board, the Federal prosecutor definitely had more than one “swing and miss” during this trial. Take Day 11 when the defense attorney Cristina Arguedas quickly brought up a contradiction in Bond’s former girlfriend Kimberly Bell’s Grand Jury testimony that she ” wrote her own diary”. Suddenly Arguedas threw another breaking ball that Bell testified during this recent trial that she and her “ghost writer” Aphrodite Jones collaborated on her diary.
Then in a great show of promotional skill, Bond’s defense attorney Allen Ruby had the entire courtroom on the edges of their seats as he proclaimed he was going to call 6 witnesses, including Bonds to the witness chair. But in a great P T Barnum moment, Ruby did not have to call Bond’s or nay of his witnesses to the stand as the defense team felt confident the government failed to prove its charges beyond a reasonable doubt.
In the entire trial, only one eyewitness account was given to show any intent or verification of any of the charges against Bonds. With Anderson still sitting in a jail cell on a contempt charge for refusing to testify, only this one singular eyewitness was called to the stand, and they did not know the substance injected into Bonds on that occasion.
The jury could ultimately get their say in the case as early as Thursday afternoon as closing arguments will commence in the morning. In all likelihood the jury could come back with their decision, barring a split vote, as early as Friday afternoon just in time for the 1:35 pm PT home opener for the San Francisco Giants.
Ultimately the Federal government doesn’t seem to have given a solid and viable reason for the jury to ultimately convict Bond’s on all 4 counts. If Ruby or Arguedas can provide a solid, fact-filled closing argument with pinpoint accuracy, with Ruby possibly throwing one hard and tight in on the prosecutor’s hands.
With a current 0-2 count against the Federal government, a persuasive last pitch effort by the defense could provide a distinctive “called Third Strike” on the Federal prosecutor’s case. Might be the most important save opportunity in San Francisco since Giants closer Brian Wilson blew his last pitch by Ranger’s slugger Nelson Cruz, not 3 miles away.