Friday, November 16, 2007


Barry Bonds was indicted yesterday in federal court for lying.

It's worth noting that when he gave his grand jury testimony, he was granted immunity (paragraph 8). So if he'd told the truth, he was immune from prosecution for buying any illegal drugs/steroids/whatever. Of course, if he'd told the truth, he would be in trouble with baseball, the Giants, and perhaps to the two people he really cares about: his dad and Willie Mays.

As for the evidence, paragraph 9 is the unobtrusive hammer:

During the criminal investigation, evidence was obtained including positive tests for the presence of anabolic steroids and other performance-enhancing substances for Bonds.

So they must have found positive test results for him.

What does it mean?

I don't know. One could certainly argue that he deserves to be sentenced to community service. This isn't exactly the biggest problem facing this country right now.

On the other hand, the feds may try to make an example of him. Martha Stewart served six months in the Big House for lying about a sale of stock worth $50,000. The feds don't like it when you lie to them. If they do insist on prison, it will have to be a short term. Six months at most.

Why did he lie?

I don't know. Somehow Bonds, who grew up in wealth and privilege the rest of us can barely imagine, has managed to create a worldview where he is the persecuted one. This has been very effective for him--I think it has actually fueled much of his success on the field. But it's not so effective when one is under oath to a grand jury.

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