News24

Bonds under house arrest

2011-12-17 10:08

San Francisco - Barry Bonds, US baseball's all-time home run king, was sentenced Friday to 30 days of house arrest and two years probation for giving misleading testimony in connection with the BALCO probe.

US federal judge Susan Illston also ordered that Bonds perform 250 hours of community service, but she put on hold a $4,000 fine against Bonds for his conviction on the obstruction of justice charge.

Prosecutors had asked for a 15-month jail term for Bonds, arguing that the former San Francisco Giants slugger's actions were part of "a calculated plan to obfuscate and distract the grand jury from getting to the truth."

They also argued that Bonds' claims he never "knowingly" took steroids are "patently false."

The 47-year-old Bonds, who lives in a luxury mansion in Beverly Hills, California, will be free, pending his appeal, with his sentence stayed.

In December 2003, Bonds was accused of lying in testimony to a grand jury investigating Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative's (BALCO) role in providing steroids to world-class athletes. Bonds is the probe's highest-profile catch.

In April, a jury convicted Bonds of obstruction of justice. The jury of eight women and four men found Bonds had misled the grand jury investigating a steroids ring by giving an evasive answer to a question about injectable drugs.

Asked by a prosecutor whether his trainer had ever given him anything that required a syringe, Bonds launched into a rambling response in which he talked about being "a celebrity child" among other random statements.

While jurors deadlocked on three other perjury counts after nearly four days of deliberations, they unanimously agreed Bonds had been intentionally evasive and misleading.

Bonds, who wore a dark suit and a tie during his sentencing hearing, appeared slimmer than during his playing days with the Giants and Pittsburgh Pirates.

He owns American baseball's single season record for home runs with 73 and a separate record for career home runs at 762.

Illston has dealt with sentencing before in connection with the BALCO steroids scandal, giving US cyclist Tammy Thomas six months of home confinement and athletics coach Trevor Graham 12 months of home confinement.

Disgraced American track and field star Marion Jones, sentenced by a different federal judge, is the only athlete to receive prison time for lying during the probe.

Bonds' personal trainer Greg Anderson pleaded guilty to steroid distribution charges stemming from his involvement with BALCO.

Bonds was one of two ex-baseball All-Stars to stand trial in doping-related cases in 2011.

After just two days, the trial of superstar pitcher Roger Clemens was halted because prosecutors used inadmissible evidence. Federal Judge Reggie Walton has set a new trial date of April 17.

AFP