Friday, July 15, 2011

Did Someone Pay the Prosecutor to Throw This Case?

Roger Clemens isn't going to be held accountable for lying to Congress. He's going to walk away, free as a bird, and that's all there is to it:
Just as everyone in Judge Reggie Walton's courtroom was settling in for a trial that was years in the making and expected to take several weeks to complete, the federal perjury case of Roger Clemens was turned upside down by about 15 seconds of video. 

Now, the world won't know for months the legal fate of one of baseball's all-time winningest pitchers.
Just as an image of Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) remained a freeze-frame on courtroom screens for several minutes in front of jurors Thursday morning, along with the transcript of what he had said, the case of USA vs. William R. Clemens was sent into a deep freeze in the middle of a balmy summer in the nation's capital.
I can't stomach the supposed poetry of these proceedings anymore, but my guess (and I keep getting it wrong so my guesses aren't worth much) is that no, Clemens probably won't be held accountable for what he did. If I was the prosecutor, I wouldn't want to have to go to trial with Brian McNamee as my star witness against an incredibly rich former baseball player.

Should Clemens be banned from baseball? No, that's probably not going to happen. Should he go into the Hall of Fame?

When the Red Sox let Clemens go, the belief was that he was finished as a pitcher. Clemens got angry and, allegedly, used performance enhancing drugs in order to stick it to the Red Sox. Each and every accomplishment after that--winning a World Series, etc--was tainted by this thing we now cannot call a fact because, hello, the trial has been blown up.

So the allegations against Clemens have not been established as facts at this time. And in this grey area, judgment has to take over. I believe, in my heart of hearts, Clemens is denied his chance to go into the Hall of Fame on his first ballot, and perhaps on subsequent ballots after that. I think he will go in, but not with the same measure of respect he might have gone in if he hadn't allegedly cheated.

How did Clemens get away with it though? Was this because of a judge who was too strict? Incompetence? Or did someone pay the prosecutor to boot the case on purpose? Because this was a major, major embarrassment for the legal profession in Washington D.C.

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