The highly unusual obstruction of justice conviction Barry Bonds was stuck with on April 13 was upheld by a federal judge on Friday night.
Bonds’ lawyers had asked for a new trial on the charge or an acquittal, but U.S. District Judge Susan Illston refused Friday to overturn the only unanimous decision reached by the jury in her courtroom four months ago. Jurors failed to reach a verdict on three counts charging Bonds with making false statements to a grand jury in 2003. Prosecutors have yet to say whether they plan to retry him on those three counts.
According to The Associated Press, the next step for Bonds is to appeal to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which could leave things without a resolution until 2013. Bonds does have a strong case against the charge. As our own Craig Calcaterra broke it down this morning:
You’ll recall that the primary basis for Bonds’ motion was that one cannot or at least should not be convicted of obstruction of justice on the basis of giving “evasive testimony” when in fact he actually answered the question. And Bonds did — after a brief, meaningless digression — answer the question at issue with a straight “no” answer. And answering the question aside, the law in this area makes it clear: the burden is on the prosecutor to direct a less-than-cooperative witness to answer a question, not to simply let him ramble, throw his hands up in the air and cry “obstruction!” or “perjury!”
Sentencing has yet to be determined, but the common belief is that Bonds could spend anywhere from 3-6 months in jail if the conviction is upheld.
Mitt Romney built his professional life in Massachusetts and was once the governor of the state. As such, it is not surprising that he has long identified as a Red Sox fan. So this has to be troubling to him from a fan’s perspective. From Jon Heyman:
The Romney family is bidding to buy a small stake in the Yankees months after their try for the Marlins stalled. If the deal goes through, it is expected to be $25 million to $30 million per percentage point and thought to be interested in one or two percentage points. The Yankees are valued around $3 billion or more.
The effort is being led by Mitt’s son Tagg, one of his brothers and their business partners. Mitt’s spokesman tells Jon Heyman that he has nothing to do with it personally. Tagg Romney is reported to have been planning a bid for controlling interest in the Marlins, but that has fallen through.
I find this interesting insofar as the M.O. for the Steinbrenners has, for years, been to buy out minority shareholders in the Yankees, not seek more. Indeed, when George Steinbrenner bought the Yankees back in 1973 he held just a bare controlling interest and there were a ton of silent partners, most of which were back in Ohio and knew Steinbrenner from his shipping business. I’ve personally gotten to know some of them over the years as there are a handful of them in Columbus and I crossed paths with them in my legal career. They have almost all been bought out in the past couple of decades. They still get season tickets and World Series rings and stuff. You can tell them by their personalized Yankees plates and the fact that, within the first ten minutes of meeting them, they will tell you that they once owned a piece of the Yankees but got pushed out.
In light of all of that it’s interesting that the Steinbrenners are once again accepting bids for small stakes in the team. Especially from someone whose interest in controlling the Marlins suggests that they do not consider it to be a mere vanity investment. Makes me wonder what the Steinbrenners’ long term plans are.
The Nationals will be many people’s favorites in the NL East this season. Not everything is looking great, however. For example, their ace — defending NL Cy Young winner Max Scherzer — can’t even throw fastballs right now.
The reason: the stress fracture he suffered last August is still causing him problems and Scherzer is unable to use his fastball grip without feeling pain in his right ring finger. He will throw a bullpen session tomorrow, but will only use his secondary stuff.
Scherzer has not been ruled out for Opening Day — the fact that he is throwing some means that his timetable isn’t totally on hold — but you have to figure, at some point, not being able to air things out and use his heater will lead to some problems in his spring training routine.