Sentence date set for baseball home run king Bonds

New York: American baseball`s home run king Barry Bonds will be sentenced on December 16 after being convicted in a US federal court of obstruction of justice, the court has announced.

US District Judge Susan Illston set the date after rejecting a bid from the ex-San Francisco Giants slugger`s lawyers to have the conviction set aside.

In April, a jury of eight women and four men found that Bonds, 46, had misled a 2003 grand jury investigating a steroids ring by giving an evasive answer to a question about injectable drugs.

Asked by a prosecutor whether his trainer had ever given him anything that required a syringe, Bonds launched into a rambling response in which he talked about being "a celebrity child," among other things.

While jurors deadlocked on three other perjury counts after nearly four days of deliberations, they unanimously agreed Bonds had been intentionally evasive and misleading.

Defense lawyers had asked Illston to throw out the verdict or grant a new trial.

Prosecutors countered that the jury verdict was proper. They said Bonds first tried to evade the question and then lied when he ultimately denied receiving injectable drugs from his trainer.

His conviction carries a possible sentence of up to 10 years in jail, but those found guilty usually get between 15-21 months.

Illston has dealt with sentencing before in connection with the BALCO steroids scandal, giving US cyclist Tammy Thomas six months of home confinement and American athletics coach Trevor Graham 12 months of home confinement.

Sprint star Marion Jones, sentenced by a different federal judge, is the only athlete so far to receive prison time for lying during the probe.

Bonds owns American baseball`s single season record for home runs with 73 and a separate record for career home runs at 762.

Bureau Report

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