MLB: Feds drop 4 counts against Barry Bonds
SAN FRANCISCO — Federal prosecutors dropped four counts of lying to a grand jury against Barry Bonds, leaving him to face trial next year on 10 counts of making false statements plus an additional obstruction of justice charge.
Bonds faces the same potential sentence range — probation to roughly two years in prison — if convicted. His trial is scheduled to begin March 2.
Today's indictment, the third against the home-run king, came in response to U.S. District Judge Susan Illston's decision last week ordering prosecutors to again rewrite the technically faulty indictment.
Bonds was originally charged in November 2007 with four counts of perjury and one count of obstruction of justice. After a motion by his lawyers to dismiss the case, Illston ordered prosecutors to rewrite the indictment because multiple alleged lies were lumped into single charges.
He was re-indicted in May and charged with 14 counts of making false declarations to a grand jury in 2003 and one count of obstruction of justice. His attorney's then asked Illston to dismiss 10 of the lying charges, claiming he was asked unclear questions in front of the grand jury in 2003, and Illston ruled Nov. 24 to dismiss three charges and asked prosecutors to consolidate or rewrite another two.
Illston agreed with Bonds' attorney to dismiss two of the charges that were based on questions posed by prosecutors asking Bonds if he ever took steroids or received "flax seed oil stuff" because, she said, they were too vague to sustain a perjury charge.
Illston also threw out another count based on Bonds' repeated denials that he obtained human growth hormone from his personal trainer, Greg Anderson, because it too closely mirrored another charge, she said.
Finally, prosecutors combined two similar charges into a single count.