US court overturns baseball legend's conviction

Barry Bonds, former San Francisco Giants great, waves to the crowd along the parade route during the San Francisco Giants World Series victory parade on October 31, 2014 in San Francisco, California (AFP Photo/Thearon W. Henderson)

Los Angeles (AFP) - A US appeals court overturned Wednesday baseball legend Barry Bonds' conviction for giving evasive testimony, in a long-sought judicial victory for the ex San Francisco Giants slugger.

In 2011, a federal court convicted Bonds, now 50, of providing deceptive answers to questions regarding whether he used performance-enhancing drugs to a federal grand jury.

His lawyers said that, even though their client gave rambling, long-winded testimony, he should not be punished for trying to tell the truth about the so-called BALCO steroids scandal.

On Wednesday the Ninth Circuit federal Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled that "during a grand jury proceeding, defendant gave a rambling, non-responsive answer to a simple question.

"Because there is insufficient evidence that (his statement) was material, defendant's conviction for obstruction of justice... is not supported by the record," it said, adding: "Defendant's conviction here must be reversed."

Bonds was sentenced in 2011 to two years' probation, 250 hours of community service, handed a $4,000 fine and month of monitored home confinement.

Despite his tainted past Bonds may be trying to get back into the game as a coach. He holds numerous league records, including most career home runs (762) and the most home runs in a single season (73 set in 2001).