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Prosecutors seek prison sentence for Bonds

Dec. 15, 2011 at 5:11 PM
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SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 15 (UPI) -- Federal prosecutors have urged a U.S. District Court judge to sentence home run king Barry Bonds to 15 months in prison for obstructing justice.

Bonds is to be sentenced Friday by Judge Susan Illston on one count of obstructing justice for providing evasive testimony to a federal grand jury in 2003 about his use of steroids from the Bay Area Laboratory Cooperative, the San Jose Mercury News reported.

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Prosecutors said Bonds denied using performance-enhancing drugs as part of a "calculated plan to obfuscate and distract" the grand jury investigating BALCO, the now-defunct lab that had made steroids used by athletes.

Bonds had faced three perjury counts, on which a jury deadlocked in April.

The former San Francisco Giants star's lawyers, who have said they will appeal the obstruction conviction, are seeking probation, pointing to his clean criminal record and charitable work.

Federal sentencing guidelines stipulate a prison term of 15 to 21 months, but they are not binding, and Illston's record in sentencing athletes who lied under oath in the BALCO case suggests she won't impose that harsh a penalty.

It's unlikely Illston will sentence Bonds to prison time, legal experts say. They point to her sentences of world-class cyclist Tammy Thomas, who received six months of home detention for perjury, and track coach Trevor Graham, who received a year of home detention for lying to federal agents.

"Home detention is probably the right solution," said Rory Little, a former federal prosecutor and Hastings College of the Law professor.

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