San Francisco, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - A federal appeals court reversed Barry Bonds' 2011 conviction on obstruction of justice -- a charge tied to testimony the former slugger gave in a steroids case 12 years ago.
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals made its ruling Wednesday, seven months after rehearing the case and four years after Bonds was convicted of being evasive during his 2003 grand jury testimony in the BALCO case investigating performance-enhancing drug use in sports.
The court voted last July to revisit the case after previously ruling in September 2013 that there was sufficient evidence to convict Bonds, who is now 50.
At issue was what the court called "a rambling, non-responsive answer to a simple question" during Bonds' 2003 testimony, when he was asked if his personal trainer ever gave him anything that required a syringe to inject himself.
Bonds' answer -- referred to as "Statement C" in court documents -- is what drew the obstruction of justice conviction from a jury.
But the appeals court found there was insufficient evidence that his statement was material to the government's investigation of steroids, ruling it must be vacated and that Bonds may not be tried again on that count.
He was also charged with four counts of making false statements, but the jury was unable to reach a verdict on those charges.
Bonds, who broke Major League Baseball's single-season and all-time home run records while playing for the San Francisco Giants, was sentenced in 2011 to 30 days of house arrest, two years of probation, 250 hours of community service and a $4,000 fine. He retired following the 2007 season.
He was questioned in 2003 for almost three hours about his suspected use of steroids.