Barry Bonds Guilty of Obstruction; Mistrial on Other Counts

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The legal community and chattering classes still have Barry Bonds' testicles to kick around. The slugger -- whose genitalia and its purported reaction to performance-enhancing drugs was on display in court -- was found guilty of obstruction of justice. The jury was unable to reach a verdict on three perjury counts, which led Judge Susan Illston to declare a mistrial.

The verdict -- which Bonds' lawyers have asked to be thrown out -- concludes a tawdry trial stemming from the all-time home run king's 2003 testimony that he never knowingly used steroids. While that statement strains anyone's credulity, it warrants mentioning that, in '03, the drug Bonds is accused of taking was not yet classified by the government as a steroid -- or illegal.

Paula Canny, an attorney for Bonds' oft-jailed trainer Greg Anderson, previously described the slugger's trial as a testosterone-fueled game of chicken. She expressed surprise at the verdict, and said she'd expected the obstruction charge to be dropped.

That charge stemmed from a rambling answer Bonds gave the grand jury in which he claimed himself to be a "celebrity child."

When asked if he'd ever been given drugs by Anderson that required him to be injected, Bonds answered thusly:

"That's what keeps our friendship. You know, I am sorry, but that -- you know that -- I was a celebrity child, not just in baseball by my own instincts. I became a celebrity child, with a famous father. I just don't get into other people's business because of my father's situation, you see...."

It would appear that non-answer answer has led to today's outcome.

Bob Talbot, a law professor at the University of San Francisco, said today's verdict is extremely bad news for Bonds. The penalties for obstruction, he believes, are every bit as bad or worse as those for perjury. He doesn't foresee the prosecutors attempting to retry on the three remaining counts.

"I think they're pretty thrilled they got a verdict in one of the charges," he says.

The next hearing in the case will be on May 20.

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