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Web Letter

Dave Zirin is right that the Bonds prosecution is crashing in flames. His equating that with Bush constitutional crimes is misplaced. This is traditional prosecutorial incompetence.

Friday, the day before trial--scheduled to start on Monday--with the judge's calendar cleared for the month or so the Bonds trial would take, and the potential jurors all subpoenaed and set to miss work on Monday to be questioned, the government threw a monkey wrench into the works by filing a pre-trial appeal on the judge's decision two weeks ago to exclude urine samples and a calendar with markings because only Anderson, the trainer, can testify that the stuff really is Bonds'. This is called "authentication." Anderson obviously has a strong financial issue here, and has already spent a year in jail for refusing, Without him the government's case seems to be weak, which is why the appeal was filed.

It has very little chance of success. Virtually none. Appeals courts do not generally involve themselves in pretrial matters, preferring to see what happens to the whole trial first.

Second, the rulings excluding the evidence seem to be 100 percent first-year-law-school correct.

One Bonds lawyer says correctly that they have shot themselves in the foot again, by pissing off the federal judge. Correct. The appeal will take about six months.

One New York Times writer wisely says that Bonds career is over, he is a charter member of the Hall of Shame, so why the US Attorney's six-year obsession with him when so much other stuff he should be prosecuting is going on?

My prediction: the government--either before or after the failure of the appeal will effectively admit their failure by entering a plea agreement with Bonds for some ridiculously minor offense and the judge will sentence him to no time, a minor fine and the world will move on.

Jim Burke

Santa Fe , NM

Mar 6 2009 - 12:22am