Bonds appeals to erase felony conviction

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Bonds appeals to erase felony conviction

From Comcast SportsNet
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Barry Bonds has asked a federal appeals court to toss out his felony obstruction conviction, arguing it was based on his rambling -- but truthful -- answer to a grand jury question about whether his trainer ever provided him with an injectable substance. Responding to the jury, the Major League Baseball's career home runs leader replied that he was a "celebrity child," rather than answering the question directly. Bonds' father was Bobby Bonds, a 13-year major league veteran and three-time All Star. A jury decided after a roughly three-week trial last year that the answer represented an obstruction of justice. The jury deadlocked on three other charges alleging Bonds lied to a grand jury when he denied knowing taking performance-enhancing drugs. Prosecutors dismissed those counts, bringing an anticlimactic end to their eight-year pursuit of Bonds. Bonds attorneys filed a 60-page legal brief filed Thursday with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. His counsel stressed that federal investigators whiffed on proving the heart of their case against the slugger, which was that he lied when he denied in 2003 grand jury testimony that he took performance-enhancing drugs to boost his career. Federal prosecutors revised their indictment several times and delayed trial for a year while appealing an important evidentiary decision to the 9th Circuit. "This case arose out of the federal government's efforts to combat steroid use in sports," Bonds' appellate attorney Dennis Riordan wrote. "That crusade, while admirable in its underlying purpose, has been pursued with an intensity at times bordering on zealotry." Riordan also argued that Bonds answered the question earlier in his grand jury appearance when he said that only his doctor injected him with anything. "Any competent English speaker would understand Mr. Bonds's initial statement as answering the question in the negative," Riordan wrote. "Mr. Bonds was no more guilty of obstruction than he would have been if, having answered one prosecutorial question, he chatted with grand jurors about the weather while the prosecutor was formulating his next one." Riordan further argued that the prosecutors questioning Bonds before the grand jury had a "legal obligation to clarify unresponsive testimony." Riordan contends the prosecutors should have repeated the question until Bonds answered directly. Federal prosecutors are expected to file their opposition later this month. The federal appeals court has no deadline to decide the case. Prosecutors are expected to argue that Bonds' "celebrity child" answer was calculated to evade the steroids question and mislead the grand jury. Bonds was sentenced to 30 days house arrest and two years of probation. That sentence was suspended pending the appeal.

Fire draft two Charlotte 49ers to close out draft

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USA TODAY

Fire draft two Charlotte 49ers to close out draft

The Chicago Fire drafted three players in the first two rounds of the MLS draft on Friday and added another two players in the draft's final two rounds on Tuesday.

The Fire selected two players out of Charlotte in the final two rounds. Midfielder Brandt Bronico went with the third pick in the third round, No. 47 overall, and defender Matej Dekovic was picked with the third pick in the fourth round, No. 69 overall.

Bronico was a key cog all four years at Charlotte. He was a three-time First-Team Conference USA selection and Conference USA Player of the Year as a senior. He totaled 25 goals and 23 assists in four years, including nine goals and five assists in 18 matches as a senior. He had eight goals and 10 assists as a junior.

Bronico also scored an eye-catching goal on the final day of the MLS Combine.

Dekovic is a defender born in Zagreb, Croatia. He was a First-Team Conference USA pick this fall while playing at left back. The Fire don't have much depth currently at outside back, but Dekovic's status as an international player will give him an uphill battle to make the team.

The Fire open preseason camp in six days on Monday, Jan. 23.

White Sox prospect Michael Kopech fires a 110 mph max velocity throw

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USA TODAY

White Sox prospect Michael Kopech fires a 110 mph max velocity throw

It's no secret that White Sox pitching prospect Michael Kopech throws hard.

Acquired in the trade that sent ace Chris Sale to the Red Sox, Kopech was clocked throwing a pitch 105 mph last July while pitching for the Salem Red Sox.

But that's nothing compared to what the No. 4 right-handed pitching prospect in baseball did on Tuesday.

Granted, Kopech was throwing an underload baseball (which he confirmed in a response to the original tweet), but 110 mph is 110 mph.

The White Sox would settle for a few miles per hour less on the mound, but either way it looks like they've got a good one.