SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF)-- Barry Bonds' obstruction of justice conviction has been reversed by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled his meandering answer before a grand jury in 2003 was not material to the government's investigation into steroids distribution.
Bonds was convicted in 2011 of a single count of obstruction by a jury, which deadlocked on three charges he made false statements during his grand jury appearance.
Bonds offered a prepared statement following news of the conviction reversal: "Today's news is something that I have long hoped for. I am humbled and truly thankful for the outcome as well as the opportunity our judicial system affords to all individuals to seek justice. I would like to thank my family, friends, and all of you who have supported me throughout my career and especially over the past several years. Your support has given me strength throughout this process and for that, I am beyond grateful. This has been a long and strenuous period in my life; I very much look forward to moving beyond it. I do so without ill will toward anyone. I am excited about what the future holds for me as I embark on the next chapter. Lastly and certainly not least, I would like to thank my legal team for their hard work and diligence on my behalf."
A statement from the firm headed by Michael Rains, who represented Bonds during the grand jury proceedings, said, "It is no surprise that Barry Bonds, the greatest home run hitter of all time, has been completely vindicated. This charge was the product of overzealous prosecutors eliciting ambiguous answers by asking confusing and improper questions. We look forward to congratulating Barry when he is inducted into the Hall of Fame. Go Giants!"
The government could ask the 11-judge panel to reconsider Wednesday's decision or could request that all 29 judges on the 9th Circuit rehear the case. The full court has never sat on a case since it began using the "limited en banc" panels in 1980.
Bonds' appellate attorney Dennis Reardon said he wasn't surprised by the decision in an interview with KCBS on Wednesday. "I thought it was quite evident from the oral argument that the conviction was going to be reversed," he said.
Bonds had served one month of home confinement for the conviction. Reardon said this decision was very much about name clearing.
Prosecutors also could petition the U.S. Supreme Court to review the decision.
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