Last year, Candice E. Jackson and I published "Putting Stars Behind Bars" in Reason Magazine in which we chronicled how federal authorities are targeting prominent athletes and finding clever ways to get them thrown into prison.
Today, it is Roger Clemens, one of the greatest pitchers of our time, and so far I have not read anything in the mainstream media questioning why this really was necessary. Yes, yes, he was indicted for perjury, allegedly lying to Congress. (Why, I ask are not members of Congress regularly indicted for lying to us?)
The New York Times breathlessly reports:
At that hearing, Clemens and his former trainer Brian McNamee contradicted each other about whether Clemens had used steroids and human growth hormone. Andy Pettitte, Clemens’s friend and a longtime teammate, provided a written statement under oath to Congressional investigators in which he said Clemens admitted to him in 1999 or 2000 that he had used H.G.H.OK, I have a question. Why is Congress dragging a professional athlete in front of one of its bloviating committees for an inquisition? These are the same people who have helped to destroy the U.S. economy, get us into wars that are intractable, and who constantly enrich themselves at the expense of those of us who don't share their privileges.
Days after the hearing, the Democratic and Republican leaders of the committee asked the Justice Department to open an investigation into Clemens’s testimony.
If convicted, Clemens could face up to 30 years in prison and a $1.5 million fine, but under current sentencing guidelines, a conviction would most likely bring a 15- to 21-month sentence. He would probably receive less prison time if he accepted a plea agreement.
The last time I checked, Major League Baseball was a private organization, and if Roger Clemens actually too steroids at a time when MLB did not prohibit the practice, then he actually broke no rules. Nonetheless, like Barry Bonds, who was dragged in front of a federal grand jury, Congress decided to place Clemens in a "perjury trap" in which he was damned if he did and damned if he didn't.
Of course, what inquisition can be complete without a self-serving statement from a federal prosecutor. (As I have noted elsewhere, federal prosecutors are notorious for breaking the law, but not indicting themselves.) We hear the following from yet another self-righteous U.S. attorney:
"Our government cannot function if witnesses are not held accountable for false statements made before Congress,” said Ronald C. Machen Jr., the United States attorney for the District of Columbia. “Today the message is clear: if a witness makes a choice to ignore his or her obligation to testify honestly, there will be consequences."Uh, I hate to tell him, but our government "does not function" at any level other than to hold everyone else to standards that no one in Washington seems to be able to meet. Nonetheless, we are forced to listen to this self-righteous drivel by someone who probably could not tell the truth in a court of law even if he wanted to do so.
(Don't forget, the Washington, D.C., office is that same office that gave us the massive misconduct in the trial of the late Sen. Ted Stevens. Notice that while federal prosecutors lied in that case, none of them faced even a second of mild sanctions. So much for the love of "honesty" among the ranks of the feds.)
Now, there is an even bigger target for the feds: Lance Armstrong. Here is a guy who never failed a drug test, but apparently the criminals running the U.S. Department of Injustice will not be happy until Armstrong is thrown into prison. In the meantime, federal prosecutors will suborn perjury, lie to judges and the general public and generally make a mockery of the law -- all in the name of "upholding the law."
Why are federal prosecutors so dishonest AND out of control? There is this thing called "immunity," which is the same reason that prosecutors in the Tonya Craft case also knew they could lie, suborn perjury, and fabricate "evidence," knowing that no matter how criminal their conduct, they would not face a single sanction. And this is what these people call "rule of law." I call it something else.