Barry Bonds on court ruling – "God is good"

SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU and wires) – The electric smile has returned to former San Francisco Giants slugger Barry Bonds face.

On Tuesday, he joined other Bay Area sports legends including Ronnie Lott and Vida Blue at the annual charity day at the BTIG brokerage house many trades that generated funds for several local charities.

It was the first time Bonds has talked with the press since a federal appeals court tossed out his obstruction of justice conviction last Wednesday.

When asked his reaction, Bonds smiled and said: "God is good and that's all I will say about that. Now it's time to move on with my life. It was long and arduous, but God is god and I'll leave it at that."

On his future, Bonds played it close to this chest only saying – "It's very promising."

Bonds said he fills his days with his newest passion – bike riding – and hanging out with his family.

He said he also is in conversation with the Giants on an expanded role with the team. The last two years he's spent time at the Spring Training camp working with players on their hitting.

"We talk a lot about what we are going to do in future," he said. "But it's in their hands."

Bonds also worked in the off-season with New York Yankees Alex Rodriguez at a batting cage facility in San Rafael.

"If I can be of value to what they are going, I'm glad to help out," he said.

On Wednesday in a rare 11-judge panel ruling, the federal appeals court in San Francisco threw out the obstruction of justice conviction ruling his meandering answer before a grand jury in 2003 was not material to the government's investigation into illegal steroids distribution.

Bonds broke Hank Aaron's long-standing career record of 755 homers in 2007, finished that season with 762 and was indicted that December for his testimony before a grand jury investigating the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative, when he answered a question about injections by saying he was "a celebrity child."

He was convicted of the obstruction charge in 2011, and a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously upheld the conviction in 2013.

But the larger group, which listened to arguments from prosecutors and Bonds' lawyers last September, concluded there was insufficient evidence his initial evasive answer was material to the grand jury's probe.

"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. "Real-life witness examinations, unlike those in movies and on television, invariably are littered with non-responsive and irrelevant answers."

Jessica Wolfram, one of the jurors who convicted Bonds following the three-week trial and four days of deliberations, said she couldn't help but feel the decade-long prosecution was "all a waste, all for nothing."

"Just a waste of money, having the whole trial and jury," she said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press.

In testifying before the grand jury, Bonds claimed he didn't realize substances he used were illegal performance-enhancing drugs. The appellate judges based their decision on legal issues involving witness testimony, not the underlying facts.

Despite holding the career and season home run marks — he hit a single-year record 73 in 2001 — Bonds has been denied entry into baseball's Hall of Fame by baseball writers. He appeared on 36.8 percent of ballots this year, less than half the 75 percent needed.

"I think sadly his reputation has been tarnished, not because of the indictment or the reversal, but because of all the PED use," former baseball Commissioner Fay Vincent said. "I think the public has made up its mind."

Following the trial that opened in March 2011, a jury deadlocked on three counts charging Bonds with making false statements when he denied receiving steroids and human growth hormone from personal trainer Greg Anderson and denied receiving injections from Anderson or his associates.

Bonds was convicted for his response when he was asked whether Anderson ever gave him "anything that required a syringe to inject yourself with."

"That's what keeps our friendship," Bonds said. "I was a celebrity child, not just in baseball by my own instincts. I became a celebrity child with a famous father. I just don't get into other people's business because of my father's situation, you see."

Judges divided on their rationale, issuing four separate opinions to reverse the conviction and one to uphold it. The appeals court barred a retrial, citing a prohibition on double jeopardy.

Kozinski, writing for himself and four other judges, was concerned the obstruction statute, "stretched to its limits ... poses a significant hazard for everyone involved in our system of justice, because so much of what the adversary process calls for could be construed as obstruction."

The government could ask the 11-judge panel to reconsider Wednesday's decision or could request that all 29 judges on the 9th Circuit rehear the case — which has never happened since the court began using the "limited en banc" panels in 1980.

Prosecutors also could petition the U.S. Supreme Court to review the decision.

"I could not be more happy that Barry Bonds finally gets to move on with his life," BALCO founder Victor Conte said. "Let's hope the prosecutors choose not to waste any more resources on what has been nothing more than a frivolous trophy-hunt and a complete waste of taxpayer dollars."

A seven-time NL MVP and the son of three-time All-Star Bobby Bonds, Barry Bonds earned $192.8 million from the Pittsburgh Pirates and San Francisco Giants during a professional career from 1985-07 and could afford a legal team that outnumbered the government's 13-5 in the court room.

He was sentenced in 2011 by U.S. District Judge Susan Illston to 30 days of home confinement, two years of probation, 250 hours of community service in youth-related activities and a $4,000 fine. He already has served the home confinement.

Illston declared a mistrial on the three other counts, and the U.S. attorney's office in San Francisco dismissed those charges in August 2011. The U.S. attorney's office declined comment on the decision.