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Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Can Barry Bonds Receive a Fair Trial?

I address that question and some others in a new column. Here's an excerpt:

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In addition to avoiding Bonds-haters, counsel for Bonds will seek jurors who are skeptical about the government's decision to prosecute Bonds. A libertarian-leaning person, for instance, might object to the expenditure of millions of tax dollars to prosecute baseball players who used substances to help hit home runs. While Bonds is not on trial for steroids per se, as his case concerns lying under oath, the charges against him would have never occurred but for the government's extensive investigation into BALCO and the interstate sale and distribution of steroids. Bonds' attorneys also figure to seek jurors who could believe that Bonds has been singled out among the many MLB players who used steroids (hence the desire to ask about Rodriguez).

The prosecution, in contrast, will probably try to identify jurors who are inclined to focus on the legal intricacies of the case: the arguably compelling evidence that Bonds knowingly lied under oath, as detailed in each of the 10 perjury counts. Such jurors might be particularly beneficial if prosecutors are only able to prove Count 10, which alleges that Bonds knowingly lied about being injected by personal trainer Greg Anderson. Indeed, Kathy Hoskins, the sister of Bonds' longtime friend/business manager Steve Hoskins, is expected to testify that she saw Anderson inject Bonds. Bonds could thus be found guilty for committing perjury without the government proving that he knowingly took steroids, since the lie would involve the injection itself, rather than its contents. If that is all the prosecution could prove, prosecutors would want jurors who would be willing to find Bonds guilty on that one and only count, as opposed to jurors would be tempted to let an otherwise-exonerated Bonds walk free.

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For the rest of the column, please click here.


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