Federal prosecutors have shown great skill in pursuing terrorists and other evildoers, but for some reason they seem completely incompetent when it comes to prosecuting Roger Clemens. And because of that incompetence, Clemens could walk away scot-free.
The prosecutors had DNA evidence (a must for juries these days as we now know all too well from the Casey Anthony spectacle) and they had an honest and unimpeachable witness in Andy Pettitte, among other pieces of evidence. You would have thought they would make sure their case was tighter than a drum. Instead, the trial falls apart after barely starting because someone failed to check a videotape to ensure it had been edited to exclude Laura Pettitte’s backing of her husband’s version of events, which the judge specifically barred. If Clemens ends up walking because of this colossal error, whoever was in charge of that video should lose his or her job.
The judge will decide in a few months if Clemens can be subjected to a new trial, which would start this spectacle all over again. The only positive of the delay is that it pushes everything back several months so if New York Yankees designated hitter Jorge Posada does have to testify (he was a surprising entry on the prosecution’s witness list), it probably won’t come during the middle of the baseball season.
I have long been frustrated by the fact that baseball players who used performance-enhancing drugs will probably not face any real consequences. Barry Bonds was convicted of obstruction of justice, but the jury deadlocked on perjury charges and I doubt that Bonds will do any real jail time. Clemens could be the next one to get away with what he did.
Scores of ballplayers taking PEDs caused irreversible damage to the game of baseball and most of them will not have to answer for it. The only punishment will come at the hands of the baseball writers, who will withhold their Hall of Fame votes for Bonds (never their favorite guy anyway) now that he has been convicted of at least something and will be watching (and probably hoping) to see if Clemens suffers the same fate.
Even if Clemens walks away legally, he should be kept out of the Hall. The guy has disgraced the game of baseball and should answer for it one way or the other.
Thanks to Keith Allison via Wikipedia for the photo.