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U.S. vs. Barry Bonds


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#1 Wasted_Years

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Posted 21 March 2011 - 08:51 AM

The government's case against Barry Bonds goes to court today with jury selection and possibly opening statements. ESPN has a good primer on the case, the persons and potential "X" factors here.

The District Court of Northern California has also set up a website for the case here.

Bonds has been and shall remain a favorite of mine. I never found his sultry attitude towards the media a major issue - in fact, I sort of reveled in it. And, all cards on the table, I couldn't possibly care less if he did or did not use steroids. I am very interested in this case and while I do not believe that an acquittal will somehow forgive him in the light of the greater media, I do think the government's continual prosecution of the case has been, shall we say, a bit weak.

Thoughts?

#2 wutang112878


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Posted 21 March 2011 - 09:42 AM

I do think the government's continual prosecution of the case has been, shall we say, a bit weak.


Do you mean its weak that they are prosecuting this, or their prosecution to date has been weak? 2 very different things.

#3 EdRalphRomero


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Posted 21 March 2011 - 10:30 AM

The government's case against Barry Bonds goes to court today with jury selection and possibly opening statements. ESPN has a good primer on the case, the persons and potential "X" factors here.

The District Court of Northern California has also set up a website for the case here.

Bonds has been and shall remain a favorite of mine. I never found his sultry attitude towards the media a major issue - in fact, I sort of reveled in it. And, all cards on the table, I couldn't possibly care less if he did or did not use steroids. I am very interested in this case and while I do not believe that an acquittal will somehow forgive him in the light of the greater media, I do think the government's continual prosecution of the case has been, shall we say, a bit weak.

Thoughts?


Well sure, if you don't care if he used steroids and you find his attitude toward the media to be alluring (you know what they say about guys with over-sized heads) then you should go ahead and send him some flowers, maybe a little note. Gotta put yourself out there.

#4 Wasted_Years

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Posted 21 March 2011 - 10:34 AM

Do you mean its weak that they are prosecuting this, or their prosecution to date has been weak? 2 very different things.



wutang,

You are correct....poor choice of words on my part. I find their prosecution to be ridiculous. You could make a case that it's fairly weak as well given they've had to re-submit the indictment following their 2007 reversal and the two year delay in re-indicting.

#5 Wasted_Years

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Posted 21 March 2011 - 10:37 AM

Well sure, if you don't care if he used steroids and you find his attitude toward the media to be alluring (you know what they say about guys with over-sized heads) then you should go ahead and send him some flowers, maybe a little note. Gotta put yourself out there.


Sarcasm aside, I'm not sure I get your point.

#6 cromulence

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Posted 21 March 2011 - 11:23 AM

Sarcasm aside, I'm not sure I get your point.


His point is that you took the two most unlikeable things about Bonds (attitude, steroids) and proclaimed that they don't really matter to you, and in the case of attitude you actually liked him more for it. So you may as well just admit that you're something of a Bonds fanboy and have a bit of bias here. There's nothing wrong with liking him as a player - the guy was unreal - but it's pretty convenient to ignore everything else.

#7 Dead Balls

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Posted 21 March 2011 - 11:26 AM

Sounds like he doesn't agree with your point of view so he is attacking you personally.

I could not care less about PEDs in baseball. Baseball has the toughest stance against them now, and for me, that is enough. I want the media to let the past go, let everyone into the hall, and move onto the current baseball stories...

#8 Wasted_Years

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Posted 21 March 2011 - 11:28 AM

His point is that you took the two most unlikeable things about Bonds (attitude, steroids) and proclaimed that they don't really matter to you, and in the case of attitude you actually liked him more for it. So you may as well just admit that you're something of a Bonds fanboy and have a bit of bias here. There's nothing wrong with liking him as a player - the guy was unreal - but it's pretty convenient to ignore everything else.



Fair enough. Although, in my defense, I thought my fanboy nature was fairly clear in my initial post. That said, let me clarify. I am in fact a Barry Bonds fanboy and my opinions on him and the case will be slanted as such. I would like to argue that the government's prosecution of the case is, as I said before, ridiculous, but that will come with the aforementioned bias.

#9 EdRalphRomero


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Posted 21 March 2011 - 11:30 AM

Sounds like he doesn't agree with your point of view so he is attacking you personally.

I could not care less about PEDs in baseball. Baseball has the toughest stance against them now, and for me, that is enough. I want the media to let the past go, let everyone into the hall, and move onto the current baseball stories...


Seriously? SERIOUSLY? Look at the section I have bolded again and re-read my post. Does anyone know the difference between sultry and surly? I HEREBY PERSONALLY ATTACK ALL OF YOU.

#10 Ramon AC

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Posted 21 March 2011 - 11:38 AM

Seriously? SERIOUSLY? Look at the section I have bolded again and re-read my post. Does anyone know the difference between sultry and surly? I HEREBY PERSONALLY ATTACK ALL OF YOU.


Maybe he meant desultory.

"The night was 'desultory.' "
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#11 cromulence

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Posted 21 March 2011 - 11:38 AM

Seriously? SERIOUSLY? Look at the section I have bolded again and re-read my post. Does anyone know the difference between sultry and surly? I HEREBY PERSONALLY ATTACK ALL OF YOU.


Oh shit I missed that completely. Picturing Bonds flirting with Pedro Gomez is pretty hilarious.

#12 Wasted_Years

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Posted 21 March 2011 - 11:39 AM

Seriously? SERIOUSLY? Look at the section I have bolded again and re-read my post. Does anyone know the difference between sultry and surly? I HEREBY PERSONALLY ATTACK ALL OF YOU.


And the attack is warranted. Spelling mistakes and a failure to read before I post (read: over-excitement to post on my favorite player) are all I can claim on that one.

#13 Dead Balls

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Posted 21 March 2011 - 02:58 PM

Seriously? SERIOUSLY? Look at the section I have bolded again and re-read my post. Does anyone know the difference between sultry and surly? I HEREBY PERSONALLY ATTACK ALL OF YOU.


Now I feel all sultry and surly at the same time... in a very manly hetero way... ahem.

Has anyone read how long the case is expected to take?

#14 Wasted_Years

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Posted 21 March 2011 - 05:20 PM

Now I feel all sultry and surly at the same time... in a very manly hetero way... ahem.

Has anyone read how long the case is expected to take?



I have not read anything specific but I did catch the Sportscenter coverage and the reporter on site mentioned they (him and ESPN legal guy Roger Cossack) were going to be there for 3-4 weeks. My guess is that is as good of an estimate as any.

#15 YTF

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Posted 22 March 2011 - 09:41 AM

Saw some clips yesterday and was a little surprised as Bonds is looking a bit smaller and his head is approaching a normal hat size. Looked much closer to the Pittsburgh/ EARLY San Francisco Bonds than the Bonds that we remember from more recent seasons. I guess going off the juice would have that affect, but still odd to see him looking smaller. Check him out at about the 8-12 second mark of this clip.



#16 Rough Carrigan


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Posted 22 March 2011 - 10:34 AM

Not to go all V&N, but . .
The U.S. gov't can't be bothered to prosecute Lloyd Blankfein.
The U.S. gov't can't be bothered to prosecute Jamie Dimon.
The U.S. gov't can't be bothered to prosecute anyone at Lehman Brothers.
The U.S. gov't can't be bothered to prosecute anyone at Moodys.
The U.S. gov't can't be bothered to prosecute anyone at Standard & Poors.
The U.S. gov't can't be bothered to prosecute anyone at Bear Sterns.
The U.S. gov't can't be bothered to prosecute anyone at Morgan Stanley.
The U.S. gov't can't be bothered to prosecute anyone at Bank of America.
The U.S. gov't can't be bothered to prosecute anyone at Citibank.
The U.S. gov't can't be bothered to actually prosecute not just fine Angelo Mozilo.

But they've got all the time in the world and a fucking hard on for Barry Bonds.

#17 Spacemans Bong


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Posted 22 March 2011 - 02:05 PM

And they can't even prosecute him worth a shit. Three-fourths of the jury are Giants fans, is there any way in hell he gets convicted?

#18 Wasted_Years

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Posted 22 March 2011 - 04:56 PM

Not to go all V&N, but . .
The U.S. gov't can't be bothered to prosecute Lloyd Blankfein.
The U.S. gov't can't be bothered to prosecute Jamie Dimon.
The U.S. gov't can't be bothered to prosecute anyone at Lehman Brothers.
The U.S. gov't can't be bothered to prosecute anyone at Moodys.
The U.S. gov't can't be bothered to prosecute anyone at Standard & Poors.
The U.S. gov't can't be bothered to prosecute anyone at Bear Sterns.
The U.S. gov't can't be bothered to prosecute anyone at Morgan Stanley.
The U.S. gov't can't be bothered to prosecute anyone at Bank of America.
The U.S. gov't can't be bothered to prosecute anyone at Citibank.
The U.S. gov't can't be bothered to actually prosecute not just fine Angelo Mozilo.

But they've got all the time in the world and a fucking hard on for Barry Bonds.


This is a great point. Remember that this case started before the collapse of the western economic system in 2008/2009. And even before said recession/depresssion this case was viewed as a waste of time, energy and effort on the goverment's part (admittedly, my bais is creeping into this statement). But how much more ridiculous does this case look post-recession?

#19 WayBackVazquez


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Posted 22 March 2011 - 05:01 PM

Looks like he's now admitting he took steroids. His defense to the perjury charges are that he didn't know he had taken steroids. Link.

This may be a successful defense, but it's not going to help his HOF chances.

Edited by WayBackVazquez, 22 March 2011 - 05:04 PM.


#20 gaelgirl


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Posted 22 March 2011 - 06:48 PM

Looks like he's now admitting he took steroids. His defense to the perjury charges are that he didn't know he had taken steroids. Link.

This may be a successful defense, but it's not going to help his HOF chances.

Uh, I don't know how accurate that story is.

The NBC version: "Barry Bonds admits using steroids during his baseball career, his lawyer told a jury Tuesday. The catch is that Bonds' personal trainer misled him into believing he was taking flax seed oil and arthritis cream.

'I know that doesn't make a great story,' Allen Ruby said during his opening statement at the home run leader's perjury trial. 'But that's what happened.'"

The version on SFgate.com, the web page of the SF Chronicle (story):
"In the defense's opening statement, attorney Allen Ruby said Bonds 'told the truth' and 'provided the grand jury with useful information' - then was falsely accused of drug use by 'bitter' former friends and employees.
...
'Barry Bonds went to the grand jury and told the truth,' he said. 'I know it's not much of a made-for-TV movie, but that's what happened.'"

Now, I haven't read the text of the opening statement, but the SF article doesn't even slightly suggest that Bonds was admitting he used steroids but was mislead by Anderson. It sounds to me like the legal team is, in fact, sticking to the "he never used steroids and he believes he was given flaxseed oil and arthritis cream" story. Which makes sense, because that's what he told the grand jury in 2003. Changing that now would basically be admitting he lied to the grand jury. That would make his highly-paid legal team very, very incompetent.

Bonger, where'd you see that any of the jury were Giants fans? The story I read said they largely weeded out Giants fans, but ended up with one Giants fan who had an unfavorable opinion of Bonds and a baseball fan who has a favorable opinion of him. It seems most of the jury have no clue who or what this whole thing is about.

Edited by gaelgirl, 22 March 2011 - 07:07 PM.


#21 WayBackVazquez


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Posted 22 March 2011 - 07:39 PM

Uh, I don't know how accurate that story is.

The NBC version: "Barry Bonds admits using steroids during his baseball career, his lawyer told a jury Tuesday. The catch is that Bonds' personal trainer misled him into believing he was taking flax seed oil and arthritis cream.

'I know that doesn't make a great story,' Allen Ruby said during his opening statement at the home run leader's perjury trial. 'But that's what happened.'"

The version on SFgate.com, the web page of the SF Chronicle (story):
"In the defense's opening statement, attorney Allen Ruby said Bonds 'told the truth' and 'provided the grand jury with useful information' - then was falsely accused of drug use by 'bitter' former friends and employees.
...
'Barry Bonds went to the grand jury and told the truth,' he said. 'I know it's not much of a made-for-TV movie, but that's what happened.'"

Now, I haven't read the text of the opening statement, but the SF article doesn't even slightly suggest that Bonds was admitting he used steroids but was mislead by Anderson. It sounds to me like the legal team is, in fact, sticking to the "he never used steroids and he believes he was given flaxseed oil and arthritis cream" story. Which makes sense, because that's what he told the grand jury in 2003. Changing that now would basically be admitting he lied to the grand jury. That would make his highly-paid legal team very, very incompetent.

Bonger, where'd you see that any of the jury were Giants fans? The story I read said they largely weeded out Giants fans, but ended up with one Giants fan who had an unfavorable opinion of Bonds and a baseball fan who has a favorable opinion of him. It seems most of the jury have no clue who or what this whole thing is about.


I'm reading several stories that have it the way I posted.

http://www.rolandsma...ed-barry-bonds/
http://m.espn.go.com...6245956&y=1agv7
http://abclocal.go.c...orts&id=8027804

It would hardly make his legal team incompetent if it has come out during discovery that the clear weight of the evidence demonstrates that he took steroids. That's not what he's on trial for. The elements of perjury require that one knowingly lied under oath. If it's going to be clear that he took steroids, then the only defense is that he wasn't aware that was the case when he testified.

#22 Average Reds


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Posted 22 March 2011 - 07:40 PM

You might want to check the transcript, because it's being reported all over that Bonds' lawyer admitted in court that he took steroids but had no knowledge that he was taking steroids.

Look, we're way past arguing over whether Bonds took steroids - he clearly did. It's also overwhelming clear that he lied about it under oath, probably because he suspected (correctly) that his testimony would be leaked despite the fact that it was supposed to be under seal. So he decided to lie and now he's on trial for it.

He may not be convicted - in fact, I'm guessing it's likely that he will be acquitted given the dynamics in play. But let's stop pretending that he's innocent, because we're not in court and the presumption doesn't apply.

#23 gaelgirl


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Posted 22 March 2011 - 09:29 PM

The other articles linked are using the same AP source story. Yes, they say the same thing. It's literally the same story.

The story I linked to was written by Lance Williams (author of "Game of Shadows"). It doesn't suggest Bonds' team is admitting Bonds used steroids. However, it's a poorly written story, I realize now, that doesn't really explain Ruby's opening statement. Other stories I've since read indicate Bonds' team is saying that the creamy and clear substances Anderson used were later discovered (to Barry's astonishment, I'd guess they'll say) to be the designer steroids BALCO produced. I think they might argue that "nobody knew" they were steroids, which is interestingly lame.

So, yes, I was wrong. I suppose I thought Lance Williams wouldn't miss a fairly big detail like that. Instead he talks about Ruby's argument that Bonds' ex-friends "falsely accused" Bonds of drug use. I interpreted that to mean they were still arguing he didn't use steroids.

And, for fuck's sake, I didn't make any argument whether he did or didn't take steroids. Or even close to any opinion on it. I said the AP transcript seems to have a different interpretation of the opening statement than the one on the Chronicle. So I don't know how we're "arguing" about "pretending he's innocent."

#24 redsahx

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Posted 22 March 2011 - 10:26 PM

Not to go all V&N, but . .
The U.S. gov't can't be bothered to prosecute Lloyd Blankfein.
The U.S. gov't can't be bothered to prosecute Jamie Dimon.
The U.S. gov't can't be bothered to prosecute anyone at Lehman Brothers.
The U.S. gov't can't be bothered to prosecute anyone at Moodys.
The U.S. gov't can't be bothered to prosecute anyone at Standard & Poors.
The U.S. gov't can't be bothered to prosecute anyone at Bear Sterns.
The U.S. gov't can't be bothered to prosecute anyone at Morgan Stanley.
The U.S. gov't can't be bothered to prosecute anyone at Bank of America.
The U.S. gov't can't be bothered to prosecute anyone at Citibank.
The U.S. gov't can't be bothered to actually prosecute not just fine Angelo Mozilo.

But they've got all the time in the world and a fucking hard on for Barry Bonds.

It's even funnier (in a sad way) when you think of how hard they came after Martha Stewart. Didn't they even switch over to conspiracy or obstruction charges when they realized they didn't have enough to prosecute the insider trading stuff? Now that's a hard on they were determined to see get taken care of.

#25 Average Reds


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Posted 23 March 2011 - 05:29 AM

It's even funnier (in a sad way) when you think of how hard they came after Martha Stewart. Didn't they even switch over to conspiracy or obstruction charges when they realized they didn't have enough to prosecute the insider trading stuff? Now that's a hard on they were determined to see get taken care of.



Martha wasn't convicted of obstruction because the Feds "didn't have enough" to get her for insider trading - it's because obstruction is a more serious crime and they had her dead to rights because she clearly falsified documents. (Hell, she admitted it.) Similarly, Bonds is not being prosecuted for taking steroids, he's being prosecuted because he "allegedly" committed brazen perjury, just like our pal Roger Clemens.

Perjury and obstruction are considered significant offenses by federal prosecutors. And prosecutors bring cases they think they can win - especially cases they feel will serve the public interest. It may well be that they have allowed their personal feelings to get in the way of their professional judgment here, but this certainly wasn't the case with Martha Stewart.

Edited by Average Reds, 23 March 2011 - 05:30 AM.


#26 smastroyin


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Posted 23 March 2011 - 07:14 AM

I hope they will have equal fervor in prosecuting investigators for their illegal methods in obtaining evidence and also for leaking evidence to the media. The whole affair is a steaming pile of shit and the public interest would be better served if it just went away.

Meanwhile, this thread title on the main index always makes me think of this guy:

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#27 Average Reds


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Posted 23 March 2011 - 08:30 AM

I hope they will have equal fervor in prosecuting investigators for their illegal methods in obtaining evidence and also for leaking evidence to the media. The whole affair is a steaming pile of shit and the public interest would be better served if it just went away.


My perspective is based only on what I've read about the case, but I think you're spot on.

Sadly, my guess is that there won't be any sort of accountability for the professional misconduct that has clearly been committed by investigators (and probably prosecutors) in this case, and that's a double standard that I would be jumping on if I were Bonds' lawyer. I might also make the point that prosecuting someone for testimony given to a Grand Jury in 2003 about a case the ended with guilty please from the target in 2005 is simply absurd and demonstrates prosecutorial overreach on a massive scale.

All of these are reasons why I think there won't ultimately be a conviction here.

#28 Wasted_Years

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Posted 23 March 2011 - 09:56 AM

My perspective is based only on what I've read about the case, but I think you're spot on.

Sadly, my guess is that there won't be any sort of accountability for the professional misconduct that has clearly been committed by investigators (and probably prosecutors) in this case, and that's a double standard that I would be jumping on if I were Bonds' lawyer. I might also make the point that prosecuting someone for testimony given to a Grand Jury in 2003 about a case the ended with guilty please from the target in 2005 is simply absurd and demonstrates prosecutorial overreach on a massive scale.

All of these are reasons why I think there won't ultimately be a conviction here.


Average Reds...

Excellent points. You seem to have some background in law (lawyer?). With that in mind, I have read, as general rule of thumb, perjury cases are fairly difficult to prove. This is due to not only having to show an individual has lied but the lie made a material difference in the prosecution/trial of a case. Is that an accurate read on perjury cases in general?

#29 Marciano490


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Posted 23 March 2011 - 10:21 AM

Average Reds...

Excellent points. You seem to have some background in law (lawyer?). With that in mind, I have read, as general rule of thumb, perjury cases are fairly difficult to prove. This is due to not only having to show an individual has lied but the lie made a material difference in the prosecution/trial of a case. Is that an accurate read on perjury cases in general?


There's no materiality requirement for perjury. In fact, there's also a statute criminalizing lies to federal agents acting within the scope of their duties. The Supreme Court practically begged Congress to make an exception for an "exculpatory no" (as in you telling the FBI agent, that no, those aren't your drugs), but the law remains that you can be prosecuted not only for the underlying crime but for telling the investigating officer that you didn't commit the crime.

#30 Average Reds


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Posted 23 March 2011 - 10:57 AM

Average Reds...

Excellent points. You seem to have some background in law (lawyer?). With that in mind, I have read, as general rule of thumb, perjury cases are fairly difficult to prove. This is due to not only having to show an individual has lied but the lie made a material difference in the prosecution/trial of a case. Is that an accurate read on perjury cases in general?


For a number of reasons, I have a pretty good layman's understanding of the law, but I don't want to represent myself as a lawyer because I'm not. The points I made were practical arguments to demonstrate how the prosecutors are, in fact, pretty obsessed with and invested in nailing Bonds.

My understanding of the law is exactly the same as Marciano490's with one exception - there is a relevance exception in civil law. Meaning, if you lie under oath but the lie is not relevant to the case, my understanding is that this is not technically perjury. But Bonds was testifying in a criminal case so this would not apply.

#31 Marciano490


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Posted 23 March 2011 - 11:26 AM

For a number of reasons, I have a pretty good layman's understanding of the law, but I don't want to represent myself as a lawyer because I'm not. The points I made were practical arguments to demonstrate how the prosecutors are, in fact, pretty obsessed with and invested in nailing Bonds.

My understanding of the law is exactly the same as Marciano490's with one exception - there is a relevance exception in civil law. Meaning, if you lie under oath but the lie is not relevant to the case, my understanding is that this is not technically perjury. But Bonds was testifying in a criminal case so this would not apply.


Well, it is technically perjury every time you lie under oath. The question is what sanction you will face. In a civil case, a judge is probably more likely to dismiss when a party or his attorney commits perjury. Of course, if the perjury is pervasive or serious enough, the perjurer may also be held in contempt. Normally, though, perjury affects credibility, which is punishment enough.

#32 WayBackVazquez


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Posted 23 March 2011 - 11:50 AM

There's no materiality requirement for perjury. In fact, there's also a statute criminalizing lies to federal agents acting within the scope of their duties. The Supreme Court practically begged Congress to make an exception for an "exculpatory no" (as in you telling the FBI agent, that no, those aren't your drugs), but the law remains that you can be prosecuted not only for the underlying crime but for telling the investigating officer that you didn't commit the crime.


What?

18 U.SC § 1623. False declarations before grand jury or court

(a) Whoever under oath (or in any declaration, certificate, verification, or statement under penalty of perjury as permitted under section 1746 of title 28, United States Code) in any proceeding before or ancillary to any court or grand jury of the United States knowingly makes any false material declaration or makes or uses any other information, including any book, paper, document, record, recording, or other material, knowing the same to contain any false material declaration, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.
(b) This section is applicable whether the conduct occurred within or without the United States.
© An indictment or information for violation of this section alleging that, in any proceedings before or ancillary to any court or grand jury of the United States, the defendant under oath has knowingly made two or more declarations, which are inconsistent to the degree that one of them is necessarily false, need not specify which declaration is false if—
(1) each declaration was material to the point in question, and
(2) each declaration was made within the period of the statute of limitations for the offense charged under this section.
In any prosecution under this section, the falsity of a declaration set forth in the indictment or information shall be established sufficient for conviction by proof that the defendant while under oath made irreconcilably contradictory declarations material to the point in question in any proceeding before or ancillary to any court or grand jury. It shall be a defense to an indictment or information made pursuant to the first sentence of this subsection that the defendant at the time he made each declaration believed the declaration was true.
(d) Where, in the same continuous court or grand jury proceeding in which a declaration is made, the person making the declaration admits such declaration to be false, such admission shall bar prosecution under this section if, at the time the admission is made, the declaration has not substantially affected the proceeding, or it has not become manifest that such falsity has been or will be exposed.
(e) Proof beyond a reasonable doubt under this section is sufficient for conviction. It shall not be necessary that such proof be made by any particular number of witnesses or by documentary or other type of evidence.


Here is an excerpt from the preliminary jury instructions in the Bonds case:

The defendant is charged in Counts One through Four of the indictment with having made a false declaration in violation of 18 U.S.C. Section 1623. In order for the defendant to be found guilty of that charge, the government must prove each of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
First, the defendant testified under oath before a grand jury;
Second, the testimony was false;
Third, the testimony was material to the grand jury before which he testified; and
Fourth, the defendant knew that the testimony was false and material to the matters before the
grand jury.


Are you an attorney?

Edited by WayBackVazquez, 23 March 2011 - 12:22 PM.


#33 BucketOBalls


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Posted 23 March 2011 - 01:49 PM

Irrespective of the exact legal definition of perjury...how can the prosecution deal with Bond's "I didn't know what they were" defense? It seems like they would need Anderson or someone saying the s-word on tape to him or some sort of written communication with it in there. It's hard to imagine something like that existing.

Of course, you would think they would have something before bringing a case. Seems odd to bring one that could be defeated so easily.

#34 Marciano490


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Posted 23 March 2011 - 02:01 PM

What?



Here is an excerpt from the preliminary jury instructions in the Bonds case:



Are you an attorney?


Yes, I'm an attorney - well, actually clerking this year for a federal judge. But, I was having a conversation with a non-attorney so I assumed there was a somewhat non-precise use of the word "material" in his question, the same way I understand that most people mean battery when they say assault. I thought he was asking whether perjury only occurs when the witness lies about an element of the crime. That is, if a defendant is charged with being a felon in possesion of a firearm - the elements being: 1) convicted felon; 2) in possession of a firearm; 3) that has moved in interstate commerce - and he lies about a matter tangential to one of those three elements, has he still committed perjury? Perjury encompasses a broader array of statements - "a concealment or misrepresentation is material if it has a natural tendency to influence, or was capable of influencing, the decision of the decisionmaking body to which it was addressed." So yes, obviously there's a materiality requirement, but I didn't think he was asking whether the underlying statute specified a materiality requirement, because - frankly - if he knew he was using a legal term of art, he'd also know where to find the answer. I took the question in context to be, can Bonds be found guilty for lying about things other than the simple fact of whether he took steroids (the law he was accused of breaking)? The answer to that, I believe, is yes.

#35 WayBackVazquez


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Posted 23 March 2011 - 02:04 PM

Irrespective of the exact legal definition of perjury...how can the prosecution deal with Bond's "I didn't know what they were" defense? It seems like they would need Anderson or someone saying the s-word on tape to him or some sort of written communication with it in there. It's hard to imagine something like that existing.

Of course, you would think they would have something before bringing a case. Seems odd to bring one that could be defeated so easily.


The admission that he took the cream and the clear is not the only evidence they have that he knowingly took steroids. The prosecution will offer testimony from multiple witnesses that they either saw him being shot up, or they were told by Bonds he was using steroids.

#36 Wasted_Years

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Posted 23 March 2011 - 02:08 PM

Irrespective of the exact legal definition of perjury...how can the prosecution deal with Bond's "I didn't know what they were" defense? It seems like they would need Anderson or someone saying the s-word on tape to him or some sort of written communication with it in there. It's hard to imagine something like that existing.

Of course, you would think they would have something before bringing a case. Seems odd to bring one that could be defeated so easily.


It sounds to me like they are going to try the "how could you not know" approach via Estalella's testimony and calling other players, all of whom are known/admitted steriod users.

From the ESPN piece:

The Plausibility Plan: The government also expects to call several former players connected with BALCO. They are expected to testify to being told that "the cream" and "the clear" were steroids and/or derivatives of steroids, designed to avoid detection. Prosecutors believe the jury, primed with stories about Bonds' notoriously prickly personality and astute attention to his body, will find it implausible that other athletes were told they were using steroids but Bonds was not.



#37 WayBackVazquez


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Posted 23 March 2011 - 02:12 PM

Yes, I'm an attorney - well, actually clerking this year for a federal judge. But, I was having a conversation with a non-attorney so I assumed there was a somewhat non-precise use of the word "material" in his question, the same way I understand that most people mean battery when they say assault. I thought he was asking whether perjury only occurs when the witness lies about an element of the crime. That is, if a defendant is charged with being a felon in possesion of a firearm - the elements being: 1) convicted felon; 2) in possession of a firearm; 3) that has moved in interstate commerce - and he lies about a matter tangential to one of those three elements, has he still committed perjury? Perjury encompasses a broader array of statements - "a concealment or misrepresentation is material if it has a natural tendency to influence, or was capable of influencing, the decision of the decisionmaking body to which it was addressed." So yes, obviously there's a materiality requirement, but I didn't think he was asking whether the underlying statute specified a materiality requirement, because - frankly - if he knew he was using a legal term of art, he'd also know where to find the answer. I took the question in context to be, can Bonds be found guilty for lying about things other than the simple fact of whether he took steroids (the law he was accused of breaking)? The answer to that, I believe, is yes.


You seem confused. First, he wasn't accused of breaking any law. He was testifying to a grand jury investigating BALCO. Indeed, he was granted immunity from any prosecution for steroid use or possession as a condition of his testimony. Second, I don't think poster's question and what it meant, was unclear at all: "This is due to not only having to show an individual has lied but the lie made a material difference in the prosecution/trial of a case. Is that an accurate read on perjury cases in general?" I don't see how the incorrect answer that there's no materiality element to perjury could be construed as helpful. In fact, the poster is very much on the right track, and the materiality element will be a significant hurdle for the prosecution.

Edited by WayBackVazquez, 23 March 2011 - 02:13 PM.


#38 Marciano490


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Posted 23 March 2011 - 02:28 PM

You seem confused. First, he wasn't accused of breaking any law. He was testifying to a grand jury investigating BALCO. Indeed, he was granted immunity from any prosecution for steroid use or possession as a condition of his testimony. Second, I don't think poster's question and what it meant, was unclear at all: "This is due to not only having to show an individual has lied but the lie made a material difference in the prosecution/trial of a case. Is that an accurate read on perjury cases in general?" I don't see how the incorrect answer that there's no materiality element to perjury could be construed as helpful. In fact, the poster is very much on the right track, and the materiality element will be a significant hurdle for the prosecution.


I'm not "confused" I just have read next to nothing about the case, which is why I was reading this thread in the first place. "Made a material difference in the prosecution/trial of a case" seems like an open enough question that I at least was uncertain exactly what he meant by "material," and therefore answered the question in the way I did. At the end of the day, either I am an idiot, or I tried to answer the question in the way I thought would be most helpful to the person asking it.

#39 Mango Tree

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Posted 23 March 2011 - 11:31 PM

At the end of the day, either I am an idiot, or I tried to answer the question in the way I thought would be most helpful to the person asking it.



Perhaps answering the exact question that was asked would be the better way to go, no?

#40 smastroyin


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Posted 24 March 2011 - 07:50 AM

While there may be a materiality clause in the law, there is none in the public opinion. While I understand perjury is a serious crime and I hate to pooh pooh it, the entire grandstanding nature of this entire episode, including Congressional interference, speaks to an attitude of the representatives of our government essentially pursuing a witch-hunt.

I know it is a serious accusation for me to make, but part of me really does wonder if this is just part of the mentality of "someone must pay." I've never quite understood the endgame of this inquiry and investigation in terms of MLB. You want to shut down BALCO? That I can see. You want to make MLB look like fools? I have trouble understanding how that serves the public interest.

#41 Alternate34

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Posted 24 March 2011 - 09:08 AM

How will the government meet the materiality requirement? Since Bonds was given immunity from prosecution on steroid use, it had no material effect on any legal proceeding that could be initiated against him. I'm not sure they could argue it had a material effect on the prosecution of BALCO or other distributors.

Perhaps they could say that if Bonds testified that he was told they were steroids, they could confirm intent on the part of his distributors, but I can't see it as material. They had plenty of other proof like the reams of documents. I am not familiar with the standard for materiality in these cases, so I am speculating. Maybe it comes with the assumption that the perjurer does not know about any other evidence presented. Even then, it seems dicey.

Maybe it could be material to cases against other players. As mentioned, other players may be brought in to testify that they were told the cream and the clear were steroids to make Bonds assertion look ludicrous. Bonds statements before the grand jury could be used in other cases similarly.

Of course, it seems that Bonds would also need to know that his false statements were to something material. That seems like it would be the toughest standard of all. Bonds may have knowingly made false statements, but if he thought they were no big deal, then the prosecution fails. It sounds like Bonds could claim that stating he was merely given these substances would be enough in prosecuting his steroid distributors. He could claim that he had no idea that him knowing they were steroids was material (which with the above arguments showing that his knowledge is questionably material, could seem plausible to a jury). The tricky thing about claiming that in defense is it requires some fancy arguing in the alternative. Bonds first defense is that he indeed did not know they were steroids. His attorneys would need to tell the jury, "Even if you think Bonds knowingly lied and that he knew that these were steroids he was taking, you still cannot find him guilty if he didn't know that statements were material to any matter of the prosecution."

#42 Marciano490


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Posted 24 March 2011 - 09:19 AM

Perhaps answering the exact question that was asked would be the better way to go, no?


Again, that's what I said I was trying to do, but thank you for reinforcing my point about the malleability of language. I'm not sure what further expiation is expected of me, I said I was wrong, I pointed out where I went wrong, and have corrected myself - I was trying to be helpful, not sinister.

As for Smastroyin's question, I think there are a few things in play. First, federal proscutors are always going to go all out to prosecute a "name" case, and they often pour tons of resources into making sure they get a guilty verdict (well, there are please in 90-something percent of cases, but the point stands). A lot of these guys have very strong "rule of law" mentalities, and like to go after lawbreakers wherever they find them.

I think your larger point is why is this important? It's obviously not as pernicious as the show trials involving insider trading currently happening. But, I think the Congress and the courts have shown special solicitude to MLB for about 80 years now. There's one Supreme Court case that starts off by listing about 50 all-time great baseball players and then waxing poetic about the majesty and tradition of the game while then upholding the anti-trust exemption. So, there definitely might be a "lover scorned" aspect to all this.

At the end of the day though, Bonds is a very famous man. He probably lied under oath in front of the whole country. What would be the message if he weren't prosecuted? And once you decide you're going to prosecute him, once you know he'll have high-priced lawyers making a million motions, then you pretty much have to go all out, becaues federal prosecutors hate to lose, and hardly ever do.

#43 Wasted_Years

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Posted 24 March 2011 - 09:22 AM

From Lester Munson, ESPN legal guy, an update on the first day of actual testimony.....here

This part was particularly interesting to me:

Throughout the third day of the trial, the words "steroids" and "syringe" and "human growth hormone" were repeated again and again. With the jurors watching, both sides spent the day talking and arguing about Bonds doing exactly what he told the grand jury he never did.
When you're on trial on charges of making false statements to the grand jury, this is the last thing you want to see. Quietly and relentlessly and with none of Ruby's flair, prosecutors Matthew Parrella and Jeff Nedrow are succeeding in placing Bonds in the middle of a world of performance-enhancing drugs.


Personally, I think the prosecution is going to play the "how could you not know" angle, as I've stated before. Thus far, admittedly early in the trial, things seem to be trending the prosecution's way.

#44 smastroyin


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Posted 24 March 2011 - 10:38 AM

Perhaps the government attorneys are altruistically trying to rehabilitate B. Bonds's reputation by making themselves seem so much worse.


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#45 Curtis_Lesspanic

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Posted 30 March 2011 - 08:18 AM

I have to think that by the time the prosecution wins this just by what I have read so far. In addition to the Giambi's, they will have every other BALCO athlete with doping ties say they knew exactly what they were taking.
At some point even a jury of Giants fans has to think that Bonds was no different.

And I have no problems with the feds going after Bonds. All he had to do was say he did Steroids, he could even lie about taking them like Pettitte did, and none of this would be happening to him.

#46 Rough Carrigan


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Posted 30 March 2011 - 11:37 AM

I have to think that by the time the prosecution wins this just by what I have read so far. In addition to the Giambi's, they will have every other BALCO athlete with doping ties say they knew exactly what they were taking.
At some point even a jury of Giants fans has to think that Bonds was no different.

And I have no problems with the feds going after Bonds. All he had to do was say he did Steroids, he could even lie about taking them like Pettitte did, and none of this would be happening to him.

Of course, he didn't stop them from prosecuting BALCO, the target of the investigation, did he?

#47 Curtis_Lesspanic

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Posted 30 March 2011 - 12:32 PM

Of course, he didn't stop them from prosecuting BALCO, the target of the investigation, did he?

No he didn't, but spitting in the face of a government plea deal doesn't make me too sympathetic.

#48 WayBackVazquez


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Posted 30 March 2011 - 12:42 PM

No he didn't, but spitting in the face of a government plea deal doesn't make me too sympathetic.


You don't have to sympathize with Bonds to think that spending $6 million dollars to prosecute a case where the likely outcome of a conviction is a period of home confinement in a 14,000 square foot mansion is not a good allocation of federal resources.

#49 smastroyin


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Posted 30 March 2011 - 12:49 PM

You don't have to sympathize with Bonds to think that spending $6 million dollars to prosecute a case where the likely outcome of a conviction is a period of home confinement in a 14,000 square foot mansion is not a good allocation of federal resources.


It actually sounds like what he is saying is that to him it is worth $6 million just so that Bonds can get some form of comeuppance, but sometimes I read too much between the lines.

I wish I could get away from the feeling that the prosecutors feel the same way.

#50 Curtis_Lesspanic

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Posted 30 March 2011 - 02:28 PM

It actually sounds like what he is saying is that to him it is worth $6 million just so that Bonds can get some form of comeuppance, but sometimes I read too much between the lines.

I wish I could get away from the feeling that the prosecutors feel the same way.


Do I think it's worth spending 6 million of our tax dollars just so we can say "naughty naughty" to Bonds? Nope. Do I understand why the goverment goes after someone who tries to publicly make a mockery of a Federal prosecution? Yes.

If Barry thought he was just going to be able to take a deal from the Feds and then make them look stupid on the stand with all the media attention this got, he's insane. Barry wasted our money with his vain need to protect his already tattered image.