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Pirates

No jail time for Barry Bonds

| Saturday, Dec. 17, 2011

SAN FRANCISCO -- Barry Bonds learned his fate Friday after eight years of being pursued by prosecutors in a case that began with steroid allegations: a 30-day sentence, to be served at his Beverly Hills estate.

No more -- and maybe less.

U.S. District Judge Susan Illston immediately delayed imposing the sentence while Bonds appeals his obstruction of justice conviction. Baseball's home run king was found guilty in April not of using steroids but of misleading grand jurors.

Even without prison time, the case has left its mark on the seven-time National League MVP. His 762 career home runs and 73 in 2001 may forever be perceived as tainted records, and his spot in the Hall of Fame is in doubt.

Bonds declined to speak in court. Well-wishers hugged the 47-year-old in the hallway after the hearing was over, and a smattering of fans cheered him as he left the courthouse. It was a marked departure from his initial court appearance four years ago, when guards had to clear a path for Bonds to get through dozens of onlookers to his SUV.

Bonds was sentenced to two years of probation, 250 hours of community service and 30 days of home confinement and was assessed a $4,000 fine. It will take time to determine whether he serves any of it; his appellate specialist, Dennis Riordan, estimated it would take nearly a year and a half for the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to rule.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Parrella called the sentence a "slap on the wrist" and the fine "almost laughable" for a superstar who made more than $192 million playing baseball.

Parrella had sought 15 months in prison and argued that home confinement wasn't enough "for a man with a 15,000-square-foot house with all the advantages." Bonds lives in a six-bedroom, 10-bath house with a gym and swimming pool.

Illston said she agreed with a probation department report that called Bonds' conviction an "aberration" in his life. She said she received dozens of letters in support of Bonds, some discussing how he has given money and time "for decades" to charitable causes.

The government's top BALCO investigator, Jeff Novitzky, declined to comment after the hearing.

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