Federal prosecutors want to see baseball slugger Barry Bonds behind bars for 15 months. Just a week ahead of Bonds date with the judge for sentencing, the prosecution disagreed with a proposal of probation, 250 hours of community service and a $4,000 fine recommended by the federal probation office and home detention sought by Bonds.
A sentencing recommendation filed Thursday by prosecutors calls for a 15-month jail term and roundly rejects the notion of probation or home detention.
Bonds became ensnared in a broad grand jury probe of illegal distribution of steroids and money laundering by the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (BALCO) in Burlingame.
Two men associated with BALCO were Victor Conte, president o BALCO, and Greg Anderson, Bonds’ childhood friend and personal trainer. Conte, Anderson and two other defendants were ultimately charged and later pleaded guilty to drug distribution.
Bonds, 47, was questioned by grand jurors and later he was accused of lying to the grand jury and giving rambling evasive answers to questions.
“The evidence at trial demonstrated the bonds went into the grand jury with the intention of providing false statements and obstructing the grand jury’s efforts to get at the truth in the BALCO matter,” wrote Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Parrella.
“Bonds contacted another grand jury witness prior to his testimony and attempted to influence that witness. Bonds repeatedly provided false testimony in the grand jury,” Parella wrote.
The sentencing guideline range for Bonds’ conviction and past history is 15 to 21 months in prison. U.S. District Judge Susan Illston can take a number of factors into account in deciding whether to accept the government’s request of 15 months in jail or the defense plea for leniency and home detention.
She has previously sentenced two other sports figures to home detention or probation. Track coach Trevor Graham received one year of home confinement for lying about supplying performance drugs to athletes. And cycling champion Tammy Thomas received six months of the same home detention punishment for a conviction of lying about steroids use.
Two others, Dana Stubblefield, a former San Francisco 49er, and track star Marion Jones were also convicted from the same grand jury investigation, but only Jones received jail time.
Anderson refused to testify against Bonds and spent a year in prison for contempt of court.
Bonds was the leading home run hitter and broke records during the period of the steroids investigation. He played outfield for the San Francisco Giants.
Bonds is set to be sentenced by Illston on Dec. 16 in San Francisco.
Case: US v. Bonds, No. CR07-732SI