Bonds defense rests, closing arguments Thursday

Barry Bonds, left, greets supporter Will Michaels, right, as he arrives at a federal courthouse for his perjury trial, Wednesday, April 6, 2011, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)
April 7, 2011 9:03:08 AM PDT
The Barry Bonds perjury trial is winding down, with the jury probably beginning deliberations as early as Thursday afternoon.

The defense rested its case Wednesday morning without calling a single witness. Its feeling, apparently, "Why bother?"

"This is not a surprise; it's, frankly, one of the weakest prosecution cases anybody's ever seen and the defense is following conventional wisdom, if it ain't broke, don't fix it," ABC7 legal analyst Dean Johnson said.

When the jury begins deliberating, possibly Thursday afternoon, it will be considering one obstruction of justice count and only three perjury counts, one less than the original four when the jury was seated. The government withdrew that fourth count Wednesday morning for lack of evidence.

The prosecution told the judge its closing argument would take between one and one-and-a-half hours. The defense, a monumental two to 2.5, with a promise to keep it under three.

"That's a long time to hold a jury's attention, most juries have a maximum attention span of 20 minutes and then you have to go on to something else," Johnson said.

Bonds is on trial for telling a 2003 grand jury that he never knowingly used anabolic steroids.

Prosecution witnesses have testified he knew he was getting steroids from his trainer Greg Anderson. But the defense will argue those witnesses are lying, that they all have an axe to grind and are part of a conspiracy to get Bonds, their ex-lover, employer or friend.

A conviction would not likely result in any punishment more harsh than house arrest, but could mean fewer baseball accolades for the homerun king down the line.

"He's going to be on the ballot for the Hall of Fame, there's nothing if you're convicted of a felony, I don't think there's anything that would preclude him from being listed as a Hall of Fame candidate; the question, of course, becomes 'How does a conviction affect voters?' There is a character clause," Game of Shadows co-author Mark Fainaru-Wada said.

Anderson has been imprisoned for the duration of the trial for refusing to testify. His lawyer would like to see him released now that closing arguments are beginning but the government is holding out hope that Anderson could change his mind, even after jury deliberations begin, and still tell the jury what he knows about Bonds' steroid use.


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