More than seven years after he appeared before a federal grand jury and more than three years since he was first indicted, the trial against Barry Bonds is finally getting underway with jury selection scheduled for U. S. District Court in San Francisco on Monday.
The case has its genesis in 2003 when Bonds testified that he didn’t recall using PEDs, a claim the government believes was a lie. A four-year investigation followed before Bonds was indicted on perjury and obstruction of justice charges. The government’s case has been gutted by years of legal maneuvering and ruling after ruling by the courts that favored Bonds and his legal team. As the government prepares to present what little admissible evidence remains, there are three major story lines, or “inconvenient truths,” associated with the case that the government would rather you didn’t know.
Regardless of the outcome in United States v. Barry Lamar Bonds, Greg Anderson has already spent more time behind bars than Bonds ever will, even if the former slugger is convicted on all counts. Anderson, Bonds’ long-time trainer and childhood friend, has been jailed three times for a total of 17 months, three months for pleading guilty to distributing steroids and a total of 14 months for refusing to testify against Bonds on two separate occasions. He will be incarcerated again, spending the length of the trial in jail for his third refusal to testify.
After prosecutors finish with Bonds, they are expected to bring a separate criminal case against Anderson – obstruction of justice – for his steadfast silence. A conviction could send the trainer away for upwards of three years. The government’s outrageous actions don’t end there. In their crusade to “get” Bonds, prosecutors have tried to coerce Anderson into testifying by threatening and intimidating his wife and mother-in-law. Contemplate that fact while trying to remember this is the United States of America, land of the free, not Libya, Saudi Arabia, or Yemen.
Contrary to what some people believe, Bonds is not being prosecuted for using illegal substances, but rather for lying about using them. A conviction in this case, therefore, will not serve as a deterrent to the youth of America against the use of steroids, something the government does have a vested interest in. Although lying is something young people should be discouraged from engaging in, that lesson is best left to their parents and other family members to deliver, not the government.
Unlike Bonds, politicians and other government officials stand up in the halls of Congress and take to the airwaves and lie to the voters every day of the week. Of course, the distinction is government officials (usually) aren’t under oath as Bonds was when he testified before the grand jury. But that distinction shouldn’t absolve government officials from prosecution. There is something patently inequitable about the persecution of Bonds for (allegedly) lying to a small group of anonymous citizens (the grand jury) when politicians who are elected to represent us and uphold the laws of this country are permitted to lie with impunity.
The money the government has spent – tens-of-millions of dollars – in its single-minded campaign to convict Bonds is nothing short of obscene. While the U.S. economy is still in the doldrums, with millions of taxpayers unable to pay their mortgages and feed their families, and while the world is dealing with one crisis after another, from the three wars the U. S. is fighting to the disasters in Japan and the turmoil throughout the Middle East, the money spent to convict Bonds could have been put to better use elsewhere. But federal prosecutors and higher ups are in effect using “house money,” money they didn’t have to make and isn’t theirs. Of course, it’s easier to spend money that you never really had and isn’t yours than it is to spend your hard earned dollars. The only possible justice that could come from the court decision in San Francisco is if the prosecutors and their bosses were fired after Bonds is acquitted.
When you read the daily reports from San Francisco on the goings on during the Bonds trial, remember Greg Anderson, lying politicians and the millions of taxpayer dollars being spent on a vendetta. They’re the inconvenient truths the government doesn’t want you to think about.
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