Thursday, April 14, 2011

Lance Armstrong Investigation: What Does Barry Bonds Say About It?

Actually, I don't know that Barry Bonds has said anything about Lance Armstrong's doping/fraud investigation. In fact, he tried not to say much in his testimony and that's what the jury didn't like about him. However, the Bonds case may have something to say about what will happen in Lance's case. I'll get back to that in a minute.

If you haven't heard, the Bonds trial is over and the jury found him guilty of one count of obstruction of justice and could not come to a unanimous decision about the other charges so the judge threw them out. Bonds could serve up to ten years for this one charge. However, other scenarios are pretty likely. For example...
Some people are saying that the one charge should be thrown out. As expected, this is what Bonds' lawyers will be arguing for when they appeal. The thinking is that a person really can't obstruct justice if he doesn't lie. The jury couldn't agree that he lied but they agreed that he was vague and evasive in his responses and his evasiveness obstructed justice. Here is a bit of what the Boston Globe had to say about the conviction:
The testimony leading to the statement for which he was convicted began with prosecutors asking Bonds whether his personal trainer, Greg Anderson, ever gave him anything that required a syringe for him to inject. Bonds, the son of the late major leaguer Bobby Bonds, gave a rambling response in which he claimed he and Anderson did not pry into each other’s business.
Then, in the only statement for which he was found guilty, Bonds offered a vague elaboration.
“That’s what keeps our friendship,’’ he told the grand jury. “You know, I am sorry, but that — you know, that — I was a celebrity child, not just in baseball by my own instincts. I became a celebrity child with a famous father. I just don’t get into other people’s business because of my father’s situation, you see . . .’’
The verdict made little sense to Bonds’s lawyer, Allen Ruby. He said the government “has determined it’s unlawful for Barry Bonds to tell the grand jury he’s a celebrity child and to talk about his friendship with Greg Anderson.’’
The prosecution’s case was badly damaged by Anderson’s refusal to testify against Bonds. Finding Anderson in contempt of court, Illston sent him to jail for the duration of the trial.
So, Bonds was evasive and vague and the jury agreed that it was obstruction of justice. I personally am glad that he had some consequences from telling his obvious lies but I doubt he will end up with a lot of jail time and I won't be surprised if he's able to get this overturned altogether.

Back to Lance. What does Barry's conviction say about the case against Lance? Sports Illustrated published a story that gives various perspectives on this. In essence, it could be worse news for those pursuing a case against Lance since they did get a conviction against Barry. On the other hand, it couldn't be much worse since the conviction is fairly weak and may be overturned and this after the government spent a lot of time and money pursuing him.

I believe it says that the government will have a hard time pinning him down but there is a small chance he could have some consequences. On the other hand, they may have more evidence than they had against Bonds when and if Lance ever gets indicted. My guess is that the Grand Jury will be hesitant to indict Lance unless Novitsky has a pretty substantial cast to bring to court.

Obviously, building a strong case against Lance is going to take some time...Almost a year now.

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