Barry Bonds avoids jail time in sentencing for obstruction charge

Home run champion Barry Bonds was sentenced by a federal judge in San Francisco today to two years of probation for obstructing justice in 2003 testimony before a grand jury investigating steroids distribution.

U.S. District Judge Susan Illston also sentenced Bonds, 47, to 30 days of home confinement and ordered him to serve 250 hours of community service.

Bonds did not speak during the sentencing.

Illston agreed to a defense request to stay the sentence while defense attorneys appeal his conviction.

The former San Francisco Giants outfielder was convicted of the charge in a trial in Illston’s court in April.

The trial jury found he obstructed justice by answering evasively when he was asked in 2003 whether his trainer, Greg Anderson, had ever given him anything that required a syringe to inject himself with.

Illston said she agreed with a probation department recommendation that Bonds be given probation and community service but no jail time.

Illston said the sentencing was “not about steroid use” and said she was considering only the obstruction conviction.

Prosecutors unsuccessfully sought a penalty of one year and three months in prison, while Bonds’ defense team had sought the sentence of probation and community service.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Parrella unsuccessfully argued that Illston should consider Bonds’ alleged “years of performance-enhancing drug use, steroid use, lying about it in the media and to other people.

“He made an awful lot of money,” Parrella said.

Illston said factors she considered were Bonds’ lack of criminal history, his many charitable contributions made outside of the public’s view and similar non-prison sentences given to other defendants who were convicted of lying or obstructing justice in the federal grand jury’s probe of the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative, or BALCO.

Bonds set Major League Baseball’s single-season and career home run records while playing for the Giants.

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