The Roger Clemens case becomes more confusing and contradictory by the hour. Let me explain. In the federal government’s failed effort to convict Barry Bonds of perjury, prosecutors told the judge they would present players who purchased steroids and garnered advice from Bonds’ trainer, Greg Anderson. The game plan was to prove Anderson was dealing steroids to many of the sport’s luminaries and therefore must have been dealing to Bonds. The judge ok’d it, which brought on a cavalcade of faded all-stars, such as the Giambi brothers, establishing connections to Anderson. The result? Bonds was convicted on one measly count. Wasn’t this case supposed to be a slam dunk? This time around, federal prosecutors made the same offer in their effort to convict Clemens of obstruction of Congress and perjury. Maybe they thought the second time would be the charm? They told Judge Reggie Walton former players Chuck Knoblauch, Mike Stanton and Anthony Corso would testify that they purchased drugs and garnered advice from Brian McNamee. This time around, the judge said no. What?
According to ESPN senior legal analyst, Lester Munson, in these “circumstances”, the rule of law gives each trial judge broad discretion to make rulings that the judge views as proper. In other words, it allows the judge to call it like he or she sees it. I didn’t even know that was possible. What makes this a special “circumstance”? Munson agrees that the rulings are clearly contradictory, but then goes on to say that there is little that the losing sides could do about it. If appealed, the higher court is beholden to the discretion of the original trial judge. Justice may be blind but it apparently is also arbitrary.
With the first witness expected to be called on Monday, this trial is beginning to look less like the circus I thought it was going to be and more like a flat out farce. The federal government is building their entire case on key witness, Brian McNamee. With his history of substance abuse, DUI conviction, passing out in the Yankees team hotel, or the piece de resistance – a sexual-assault investigation in Florida that includes allegations of administering a date-rape drug to a woman, lying to the grand jury and attempting to destroy evidence, Brian McNamee makes Lou Pearlman look like a standup guy. There is a judge who seems to not want anyone with an ounce of credibility to take the stand, and Clemens’ innocence is being argued with a “so what” defense (elegantly coined by Munson). I’m sorry, when did lying to congress not constitute a crime? I really don’t care how many people you think do it on a daily basis. A crime is a crime.
Every day of the trial, I see a new picture of Clemens smugly entering the court. Why shouldn’t he look smug? He’s completely going to get off. I don’t even think he’ll get the measly conviction Bonds got. Think back. As unlikeable as Clemens is, he was in theory more likeable than Bonds. Celebrity is blinding, guys. It gets more blinding everyday.