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Barry Bonds Charges Dropped from 11 to 5 by Prosecutors

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By Jason Beahm on February 15, 2011 5:51 AM

Barry Bonds numbers just got reduced. Not on the playing field, but in federal court.

Federal prosecutors have now reduced the number of charges against the career home run leader from 11 to five felony counts. Nevertheless, if convicted, his punishment would still be the same, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Legal experts say that the reduction in the Barry Bonds charges further demonstrates that the prosecutors are having trouble building their case. Bonds was first indicted in 2007 for allegations of committing perjury when testifying about his alleged steroid use in front of a grand jury.

The Barry Bonds charges now represent the fourth version against him. The new indictment reduces from nine to three the total number of perjury charges alleging Bonds lied about knowingly using performance-enhancing drugs for Major League Baseball. The case has proven especially difficult due to the refusal of Bond's trainer, Greg Anderson, to testify, even if it means going to jail on contempt charges, the Los Angeles Times reports.

It is a crime to knowingly lie after taking an oath to tell the truth, such as when testifying in court or communicating through certain legal documents. The falsehood must usually be material to the matter at issue, though perjury can also be committed by simply signing a document with the knowledge that it contains false assertions.

Federal charges of perjury define it as when a person "willfully subscribes as true any material matter which he does not believe to be true," while under oath. Perjury can be very difficult to prove, because prosecutors must not only prove that the person lied, which can be difficult enough, but also that he intended to lie.

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