Former San Francisco Giants star Barry Bonds is scheduled to be sentenced at 11 a.m. today for his obstruction of justice conviction in connection with the Balco steroids scandal. Federal prosecutors are seeking to send Bonds to prison for a 15-month sentence, while his attorneys want probation. Follow reporter Howard Mintz' live coverage from U.S. District Court Judge Susan Illston's courtroom in the San Francisco.
11:58 a.m.: Bonds leaves courthouse
Bonds left the courthouse through a crush of media without commenting, waving to a few supporters before taking off in a black SUV
11:48 a.m.: Bonds hugs supporters outside the courtroom
Bonds hugged some of his supporters outside the courtroom.
11:43 a.m.: Judge agrees to stay sentence while Bonds appeals conviction
The judge has agreed to stay her sentence while Bonds appeals his conviction, over the objections of prosecutors.
11: 37 a.m.: Bond sentenced to two years probation, 30 days home confinement
The judge has just sentenced Bonds to two years probation and 30 days home confinement and 250 hours of community service. Bonds declined to address the judge.
11: 33 a.m.: Prosecutor urges judge to 'send a message'
Prosecutor Parrella has called the probation recommendation "inadequate and almost a slap on the wrist," saying even home confinent in a 15,000 square foot mansion and meager fine is "laughable" for someone in Bonds' position. "I urge the court to send a message here," Parrella told the judge.
11:28 a.m.: Prosecutor says Bonds lived a double life
At another point, prosecutor Parrella said Bonds lived a "double life," from allegedly using illegal steroids to having mistresses while married. Judge Illston interjected: "He was not convicted for that."
"He's been unapologetic, unrepentant throughout," Parrella continued, finishing up his effort, likely futile, to persuade Illston to punish Bonds with prison time.
11: 24 a.m.: Prosecutors make last pitch for prison sentence
Despite already indicating she's disinclined to send Bonds to prison, Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Parrella is arguing that his conduct "strikes at the core of our system," saying the grand jury process depends on truthfulness. Parrella also disagrees Bonds' conduct was aberrant behavior, saying he deceived the Balco grand jury deliberately when he denied using performance enhancing drugs. "This was not a spur of the moment thing," the prosecutor said.
11:19 a.m.: Judge says Bonds case has forced sport world to confront steroids problem
Judge Illston has said the Bonds prosecution and the Balco case generally has succeeded in forcing the sports world to confront the steroids problem. But she is agreeing with probation finding that his obstruction of justice did not arise to the level of many other similar crimes, and that he's done a mountain of charitable work. Citing letters to her, she said, "The thing that is striking to me is that it was done out of the public eye and privately."
11:14 a.m.: Judge says she'll follow recommendation for probation, home confinement
Judge Illston has indicated she'll follow the probation recommendation and sentence Bonds to probation and perhaps 30 days of home confinement, as well as thousands of hours of community service. She is now describing the probation report, which is secret. It looks as if the home run king will not go to prison.
11:11 a.m.: Judge walking Bonds his rights, why he's being sentenced
Judge Susan Illston walking Bonds through the boilerplate rights he has and is outlining why he's being sentenced, offering him the opportunity at some point to address her. The judge has noted that there were many letters submitted to probation officials that were "illuminating" in the case.
10:59 a.m.: Bonds enters courtroom, winks at mother
Barry Bonds just entered the courtroom, giving his mother a wink as he headed to the defense table. U.S. District Judge Susan Illston is about to take the bench to begin the sentencing hearing.
10:54 a.m.: Attorneys have arrived in courtroom
The defense lawyers and prosecutors have filed in for Barry Bonds' sentencing. Jeff Novitzky, the federal agent who triggered the Balco investigation, is sitting in the front row, wearing jeans and black leather jacket. Pat Bonds, Barry's mother, is in the front row on the other side of the gallery with other supporters. Bonds himself is waiting until the last minute before taking his seat at the defense table.
9:56 a.m.: Waiting for Bonds to arrive
Television crews are encircling the San Francisco federal building, awaiting the arrival of Barry Bonds for his sentencing on an obstruction of justice conviction. The hearing is set for 11 a.m. Court officials indicated yesterday the proceedings would take about a half hour.