Bonds sentencing brings BALCO saga near a close

Barring an appeal, the sentencing of Barry Bonds will bring the federal government's nearly decade-long investigation of a Northern California-based steroids ring to an anti-climactic end.

The home-run record holder is scheduled to be sentenced Friday in San Francisco. Federal guidelines suggest a prison sentence of between 15 months and 21 months, and prosecutors want Bonds to serve time.

Federal probation officers are recommending probation and some period of house arrest, but no time behind bars. Bonds' lawyers say they agree with the probation department and are seeking no prison time.

Legal analysts predict U.S. District Judge Susan Illston will follow the probation office's recommendation because she handed out similar sentences to two others convicted of similar crimes.

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