Feds end prosecution of Barry Bonds without conviction

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- A 10-year legal battle with the federal government has come to an end for Barry Bonds. Federal prosecutors said Tuesday they are dropping their criminal prosecution of the former San Francisco Giants slugger. Bonds has long said Tuesday's outcome was the one he has long wished for.

This now clears his criminal record, but still may not win over his critics.

"He's a competitive guy, he doesn't like to lose and now he can say he beat the government," said former San Francisco Chronicle reporter Lance Williams.

Williams, an investigative reporter, broke the Bonds steroid scandal for the Chronicle 12 years ago. He never thought the case would drag on for as long as it has.

Federal prosecutors said Tuesday they will not appeal a Federal Appeals Court ruling overturning Bonds' 2011 conviction of obstruction of justice.

Bonds released a statement reading in part, "The finality of today's decision gives me great peace."

"He's not a felon now. He can vote and I think he wants some traction in the Hall of Fame," Williams said.

But Chronicle baseball writer John Shea says he doesn't think Tuesday's developments will change anything for Bonds. Shea is one of nearly 600 writers who get to vote on Hall of Fame candidates.

"Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa... you know, they were not convicted felons and they didn't the vote. So I'm not convinced that this is going to change a whole lot of things for Barry," Shea said.

Bonds has been on the Hall of Fame ballot three times, the last time garnering about 37 percent of the vote, far short of the 75 percent needed to be elected.

Shea says what could help bonds is if a player like Mike Piazza gets voted in -- a player suspected of steroid use, though no proof has surfaced.

"I'm thinking a lot of voters who didn't vote for Piazza will suddenly say, 'Well, if there's one guy in, this sets a precedent, forget it all, I'm going to vote for Bonds.'"

It's a long shot, perhaps, but at this point, it appears to be Bonds' best hope.
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