We knew this was coming, and the legal beagles out there will enjoy reading it, so here it is. Barry Bonds moves to have his conviction set aside on four grounds.
The first: that truthful statements can’t constitute obstruction of justice, referring to that “I was the child of a celebrity” digression which formed the basis of his conviction. That statement was truthful, Bonds argues, and the law that the prosecution cites to say that such truthful statements can form the basis of obstruction is inapplicable to this case.
The second basis is the one that appeals to me the most and which I discussed most thoroughly following the conviction: the argument that the government can’t say Bonds was evasive because he repeatedly answered the question asked anyway. Basically, the government block quoted one instance of Bonds not answering directly and then ignored all of the times he did answer directly. The jury ignored these other instances too, it seems. In this second section Bonds argues that the prosecutor has an obligation — as the Supreme Court has stated — to clear up unresponsive answers as well, which is something else I’ve argued repeatedly that the Bonds prosecutors did not do at all. And which, it should be noted, is something that could be just as damaging to the criminal justice system as perjury could be.
The third basis is a general “the weight of the evidence did not support a conviction” argument, which is kind of hard to pull off, but Bonds has to try it anyway.
Finally, Bonds argues that his immunity deal prevented his prosecution.
Since no one is paying me $400 an hour to review the case law and totally slam into the legal arguments here, I won’t, but I will say that as far as these things go, it seems like a pretty strong motion. Mostly because it was a pretty weak conviction.
That said, success on postrial motions such as these is not common and the burden a defendant who has been convicted by a jury is high, so there’s no guarantee of success here. An appeal may have a better shot.