Date registered: Aug 2002
Vehicle: 2021 SL770
Location: Fountain Hills, AZ
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Barry Bonds faces prison
The President of the United States felt obligated to issue a statement. After all, baseball is the "National Pastime," a symbol as much as it is a sport. Now it is a stigma, scandalised by a man who should have been a hero, but may become a convict.
Barry Bonds, the home-run king, has been indicted on four charges of perjury and one of obstruction of justice. Instead of going to the baseball Hall of Fame he may go to prison, for as long as 30 years.
Federal prosecutors have charged Bonds with lying under oath in testimony before a grand jury. His alleged offences occured almost four years ago, in December 2003, during investigations into the now infamous Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (BALCO) which produced undetectable steroids
A month ago, Bonds, 43, was released by the San Francisco Giants at the end of his 15th year with the team. During that season he surpassed the career home run mark of 756 home runs, set by Hank Aaron in 1976. Bonds eventually finished with 762.
There is an indication the Giants released Bonds after being tipped off that he might be indicted.
Prosecutors allege that Bonds perjured himself during his denials of steroid use. They have not released the alleged evidence they assembled, but suggest that he might have tested positive for anabolic steroids.
"The President is very disappointed to hear this," White House spokesman Tony Fratto said, relaying the thoughts of George Bush, once a co-owner of the Texas Rangers.
"As this case is now in the criminal justice system, we will refrain from any further specific comments," Fratto added, "but clearly this is a sad day for baseball."
Bonds, whose weight had surged, was long suspected of using illegal substances. His exploits were outlined in the book Game of Shadows and, as he appeared in various ballparks, Bonds was met with shouts of "cheater" from fans.
He continued to deny the use of steroids or human growth hormone, insisting that the only thing he had taken was "flaxseed oil" and that his bulk and power came from prodigious workouts.
"I know who I am and what I stand for," said Bonds, claiming it was his abrasive personality and his home run records which made him a target.
The wheels of the Bonds indictment are thought to have been set in motion in October, when Marion Jones, the US Olympic gold medal sprinter, admitted that she had used steroids from BALCO.
Kevin Ryan, the former US attorney in San Francisco, said that the case against Bonds was strong. "All Mr Bonds was asked was to tell the truth," Ryan said.
Bonds' attorney, Michael Rains, said: "We look forward to rebutting these charges... the public is going to get the whole truth, not just selected, leaked fabrications."
Numerous other major league players are believed to be mentioned in a coming report on steroids following an investigation by former US senator George Mitchell - but none matters as much as Bonds.
"If spending money you don't have is the height of stupidity, borrowing money to give it away is the height of insanity." -- anon