It took 11 1/2 years in court, but Barry Bonds has been legally cleared.
On Wednesday, a federal court of appeals discarded the tainted home run king's obstruction of justice conviction. The court of appeals ruled 10-1 that Bonds' testimony before a grand jury in 2003 didn't obstruct the government's investigation into illegal performance-enhancing drugs distribution, according to the Associated Press.
"Today's news is something that I have long hoped for," Bonds, now 50, said in a statement, as reported by the AP. "I am humbled and truly thankful for the outcome as well as the opportunity our judicial system affords to all individuals to seek justice. I am excited about what the future holds for me as I embark on the next chapter."
It remains to be seen however, if Bonds' tainted reputation prevents him from being inducted into the Hall of Fame. He still sits atop Major League Baseball's all-time home run list with 762, having broke Hank Aaron's longstanding record of 755 in 2007. Upon last vote, Bonds only received 36.8 percent of the 75 percent needed to be inducted.
Bonds was convicted of obstruction in 2011 and an appeals court upheld the conviction just two years ago in 2013. However, after listening to arguments from prosecutors and Bonds' attorneys last September, an appeals panel ruled that there was insufficient evidence that the ex-slugger's answer obstructed the grand jury's investigation.
"The most one can say about this statement is that it was non-responsive and thereby impeded the investigation to a small degree by wasting the grand jury's time and trying the prosecutors' patience," Judge Alex Kozinski wrote, as reported by the AP. "Real-life witness examinations, unlike those in movies and on television, invariably are littered with non-responsive and irrelevant answers.
Bonds maintained that he never knew the substances he used were illegal PEDs.
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(Photo: REUTERS/Stephen Lam/Files /LANDOV)
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