Raiders

Bonds guilty of obstruction of justice

444858.jpg

Bonds guilty of obstruction of justice

April 13, 2011

For complete Bonds coverage, tune to SportsNet Central at 6, 10:30 and midnight.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Sign up for Breaking News Alerts and receive e-mail and text alerts when headlines happen.

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- A federal jury convicted Barry Bonds of a single charge of obstruction of justice Wednesday but failed to reach a verdict on the three counts at the heart of allegations that he knowingly used steroids and human growth hormone and lied to a grand jury about it.

Following a 12-day trial and almost four full days of deliberation, the jury of eight women and four men could reach a unanimous verdict only on one of the four counts against Bonds. U.S. District Judge Susan Illston declared a mistrial on the others, a messy end to a case that put the slugger and baseball itself under a cloud of suspicion for more than three years.

Bonds sat stone-faced through the verdict, displaying no emotion. His legal team immediately asked that the guilty verdict be thrown out and Illston did not rule on the request. She set May 20 for a hearing in the case.

RATTO: Verdict doesn't change public perception of Bonds

The case also represented the culmination of the federal investigation into the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative steroids ring. Federal prosecutors and the Justice Department will have to decide whether to retry Bonds on the unresolved counts.

The counts that the jury could not resolve accused of Bonds of lying to the grand jury investigating BALCO in 2003 when he said he never knowingly took steroids or HGH, and when he said he was never injected by anyone except his doctors.

The maximum sentence for the obstruction of justice count is 10 years in prison, but federal guidelines called for 15-21 months. For similar offenses in the BALCO case, Illston sentenced cyclist Tammy Thomas to six months of home confinement and track coach Trevor Graham to one year of home confinement.

Bonds walked out of the courthouse with his lawyers, who instructed him not to comment because they said the case isn't over.

Impeccably dressed in suit and tie, Bonds flashed a victory sign to a few fans.

"Are you celebrating tonight?" one asked.

"There's nothing to celebrate," he replied.

Lead defense attorney Allen Ruby said the prosecution failed to prove the heart of its case.

The obstruction of justice count was a complicated charge that asked jurors to decide if Bonds was being evasive when making any one of seven statements to the grand jury. He was convicted on a single statement about his childhood as the son of major leaguer Bobby Bonds and his relationship with personal trainer Greg Anderson it did not address performance-enhancing drugs.

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," Ruby said.

The foreman of the jury, who would only give his first name, Fred, said if prosecutors want to "pursue this case, they're going to have to do more homework than they did."

A juror who also gave just her first name, Amber, said that the final votes were 8-4 to acquit Bonds of lying about steroids and 9-3 to acquit him on lying about HGH use. The panel voted 11-1 to convict him of getting an injection from someone other than his doctor, with one woman holding out, she said.

RELATED: Reaction varied after Bonds found guilty

The so-called needle count accused Bonds of lying when he said that no one other than his doctors injected him with anything. His personal shopper, Kathy Hoskins, testified that she saw Anderson inject Bonds in the navel before a roadtrip in 2002. Hoskins was not sure what substance was being injected.

Amber noted that Bonds' former mistress, Kimberly Bell, testified he complained of soreness from injections. "That's what kind of stuck out for me," the juror said.

The jury foreman said the woman who held out on the needle count did so because Hoskins was the only eyewitness.

U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag said prosecutors were gratified by the guilty count and had not decided whether to seek a retrial on the remaining charges.

Now 46, Bonds set baseball's career home run record with 762 while playing for the Pittsburgh Pirates and San Francisco Giants from 1986-2007. The jury met less than two miles from the ballpark where the seven-time NL MVP played for his last 15 years.

Bonds was indicted on Nov. 15, 2007, exactly 50 days after taking his final big league swing and 100 after topping Hank Aaron's career home run mark of 755. He also set the season record with 73 home runs in 2001 with the Giants.

Illston would not let prosecutors present evidence of three alleged positive drug tests by Bonds because Anderson refused to testify and there was no one to confirm the samples came from Bonds.

Bonds acknowledged that he did take steroids but said Anderson misled him into believing they were flaxseed oil and arthritis cream.

Anderson was sentenced by Illston in 2005 to three months in prison and three months in home confinement after pleading guilty to one count of money laundering and one count of steroid distribution. The trainer was jailed on March 22 for the duration of the trial after again refusing to testify against Bonds. He was released last Friday.

Jeff Novitzky, the federal agent who started the BALCO probe, had been hoping the Bonds case would be part of a wider investigation of doping in baseball. Last year, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Novitzky and his team of investigators illegally seized urine samples and records from 104 players in 2004.

Separately, Novitzky has helped develop the case against former star pitcher Roger Clemens, who is scheduled to stand trial in July for lying to Congress by denying he used performance-enhancing drugs. Novitzky also is a key player in the federal doping investigation of pro cyclists, including seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong. Rep. Jack Kingston, a Georgia Republican, recently suggested that the federal agent is motivated by a desire to bring down a celebrity.

Three things you need to know after the Raiders’ 33-8 loss to the Patriots

nfl-generic.jpg

Three things you need to know after the Raiders’ 33-8 loss to the Patriots

MEXICO CITY – Three things you need to know after the Raiders’ 33-8 loss to the New England Patriots on Sunday at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City:

1. So you’re saying there’s a chance

The Raiders aren’t stacking wins as they’d like. Nobody in the AFC West is, either. The Chiefs lost another one, meaning the AFC West crown remains within reach. They’re two games back in the division and one back in the wild card race.

That, above all else, will keep the Raiders motivated after a disastrous loss to New England.

“We're professionals and to me, so long as you have hope, you keep your hope, you keep hope alive,” Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio said. “So, we'll continue to scratch and claw and fight for everything we can.”

The Raiders can harken Lloyd Christmas from “Dumb and Dumber.” So you’re saying there’s a chance.

The Raiders will only stay in it if they start a prolonged winning streak. There’s a chance do that on an upcoming two-game home stand. They play Denver and the New York Giants, respectively, in Oakland over the next fortnight. Those teams have five wins between them.

Wins can’t be assumed with the Raiders team, with the inconsistency and mistake-prone play to lose to anyone.

Fight remains in this group. They’ll continue to push, especially with a 9-7 record being a legitimate playoff contender. They haven’t played worthy of such consideration, but remain hopeful a switch gets flipped.

“We are who we are, we're not going to turn on each other, we're not going to turn on anything about what we do,” quarterback Derek Carr said. “Obviously, we know that our culture and everything that we do works, because we have seen it work.”

2. Receiver corps becoming a weak spot

The Raiders have a talented group of receivers lacking consistency and production. That was the case on Sunday, when pass catchers hindered offensive flow and scoring opportunities.

Seth Roberts was the biggest offender. He had a drop, a false start and lost a fumble near the goal line with the Patriots up 14-0 late in the first half. Roberts had 12 yards in his pocket but held the ball one-handed, away from his body fighting for more. Marquis Flowers knocked it free and Patrick Chung recovered.

That was the turning point, a true 10-point swing. The Raiders lost a chance to reach the end zone, and allowed New England to get a field goal as the half expired.

“That was a major turn of events,” Del Rio said.

The slot receiver wasn’t the only receiver who stalled the Raiders offense. That group had five drops, according to Pro Football Focus, including two from Michael Crabtree. Johnny Holton wasn’t credited with a drop, but he had a perfectly thrown deep ball clang off his helmet and shoulder pads.

It’s a bad night in a bad year for the Raiders receivers, who haven’t been producing.

3. Lopsided score keeps Marshawn from going BeastMode

Running back Marshawn Lynch was the only player who had a good Sunday. The bruising back ran roughshod over New England’s front seven, right from the start. He totaled 67 yards on 11 carries, and seemed primed for a big day and a higher-than-usual carry volume.

He and the Raiders run blocking was consistent, allowing him to reach the second level on several occasions.

The lopsided score, however, meant the Raiders had to abandon the ground game.

“I thought we ran the ball well early,” Del Rio said. “I would like to have ended up with 30-plus rush attempts in the ball game, but you got to stay within reasonable amount of the score in order to stick with the run.”

The Raiders were down two touchdowns in a flash, and were three scores behind at the half. That forced Derek Carr to chuck it towards an unreliable receiver corps. That method proved inefficient and never created the big moments.

Lynch has run well since returning from a one-game suspension. He has 25 carries for 124 yards and two touchdowns in his last two games. If there’s a positive to take from Sunday’s beat down, Lynch’s efficiency might be it.

Del Rio calls out NFL for Raiders losing home games to go abroad

jack-ap.jpg
AP

Del Rio calls out NFL for Raiders losing home games to go abroad

MEXICO CITY – The Raiders have played in Mexico City the last two years, and have given up a home game to do it.

You already know head coach Jack Del Rio’s stance on the matter. He doesn’t like it. Not one bit.

The NFL announced Sunday morning that Mexico City will host games annually through 2021. The Raiders will be on the short list to return during that span.

“They’ve done a nice job for us over the last two years,” Del Rio said. “If it was a road game, I’d enjoy it. If they stop making (international contests) our home games, we’ll be fine.”

Hate to be the bearer of bad news Jack, but the Raiders will keep giving home games away. That’s expected each year until the Raiders formally move to Las Vegas.

The Raiders might not come back to Mexico for a third straight season, but could host a game in London next year. The NFL sent four games to the United Kingdom this year.

The Raiders have a massive fan base in England and Mexico, which makes them an attractive option to play abroad.

It might make financial sense for the team and the league to expand its base beyond borders, but the football people don’t find it fun.

The Raiders had more fans watching Sunday’s 33-8 loss to the New England Patriots at Estadio Azteca, but it’s no substitute for playing in Oakland.

“I think the crowd down here is pretty excited for the Raiders, so we appreciate that,” Del Rio said. “When you travel four-and-a-half hours, you’re not at home. We appreciate the hospitality and the good people who came out and supported us, but it’s hard to call it a home game.”

This one, especially. The Raiders had overwhelming support last year’s game against Houston, but Patriots fans were a large and vocal minority. They had plenty to cheer, as the Patriots waxed the Silver and Black over four quarters.

It’s hard to say the Raiders had a home crowd this time around, with plenty of noise when they were on offense.

“You know what, traveling down here, I think it was like four hours or something like that, and getting here, I think that hospitality was great, but it really wasn't, it wasn't the Coliseum,” quarterback Derek Carr said. “It didn’t have that feel. Now, we loved playing here, we loved coming down here and playing, but it felt more neutral.”