Money well spent, if you’re a lunatic:
The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned an obstruction of justice conviction against former San Francisco Giants slugger Barry Bonds on Wednesday that dates back to his 2003 testimony about performance-enhancing drugs.
A grand jury found Bonds guilty of obstructing law enforcement in 2011, saying his testimony was “evasive” in the famed BALCO trial. According to records obtained by Maura Dolan of the Los Angeles Times, the appeals court found “Bonds’ rambling reply was material and that he may not be retried.”
“Making everyone who participates in our justice system a potential criminal defendant for conduct that is nothing more than the ordinary tug and pull of litigation risks chilling zealous advocacy,” Judge Alex Kozinski wrote, per Dolan.***
If they choose, federal prosecutors can look to extend the case before the full Court of Appeals or the U.S. Supreme Court. Given the mountainous cost of the case—in 2011, The Daily Beast reported that there were estimates that the federal government spent $55 million to get a conviction—it’ll be interesting to see how prosecutors choose to proceed.
Imagine if that money had been spent doing something (anything) else.