Back in April, we got word that the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals reversed Barry Bonds's obstruction of justice conviction. There was still a chance, though, that the Department of Justice could have asked the Supreme Court to review the case, which could have exposed Bonds to all sorts of jiggery-pokery. Instead, the DOJ announced on Tuesday that they've declined to pursue that course, and Bonds is officially off the hook.
His home runs were off the hook, too! Which is what they used to say back when this dumb case started.
Since 2007, the perjury trial of Bonds was something that people often asked me about. Isn't it ridiculous that the government spent so much money chasing him down? To which I would answer yes ... and no.
It wasn't ridiculous, in theory, because grand juries are serious business. Like, whoa, let's take these things seriously. They're a hugely important part of the legal system, and there is a public-relations benefit to stapling a highly visible offender to the wall and pointing at him. See this guy? Lots of money, big fancy lawyers? He lied in grand jury testimony. We got him. You should not lie in grand jury testimony.
It was ridiculous, in practice, because there was no way to prove conclusively that Bonds was a liar face with the exact words he used. Unless there was a secret Nixonian tape of him saying, "Yeah, that cream and clear sure makes me huge, alright," it was always going to be a rough sell. And when the jury found him guilty of obstruction of justice -- "We can't prove that he lied under oath, but he, uh, still did stuff wrong" -- it was going to be an uphill battle to make that conviction stick.
Can you tell I'm not a lawyer? I am not a lawyer. Still, I've spent about the last eight years assuming the above was roughly true. Bonds was hassled for the last decade of his life, and he spent millions on lawyers during that time, but he's not guilty.
In conclusion, up yours, Tommy Lasorda. You sit there and watch this ceremony.