Clemens Investigated by Grand Jury

Categories: Sports

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I was really looking forward to writing a post today. I was going to write about the wacky greatness of Rickey Henderson - I hope Rickey gives his entire induction speech in the third person - and I was going to write about how I don't consider Jim Rice to be worthy of the Hall of Fame, not more than Andre Dawson and Dale Murphy - Rice's teammate Dwight Evans' stats were just as good as Rice's, and Evans was the far superior outfielder, but Evans got nowhere near the Hall when he was eligible.

I was going to ask how it was that there were some writers who didn't consider Rickey Henderson to be worthy of the Hall, and I was going to write about how I met with the Chron's Jose de Jesus Ortiz several weeks ago to help him cast his ballot - yes, that actually happened.

I was also going to mention a little something about future Hall of Famer Alex Rodriguez upgrading from Madonna to Penny Lane.

But Roger Clemens had to go and ruin everything.

Oh, I'm sure the Rocket didn't want to be in the news yesterday, especially since his news has nothing to do with him and the Baseball Hall of Fame. And especially since that news dealt with the Feds convening a grand jury in Washington, D.C. to investigate whether the Rocket committed perjury before Congress and tried to obstruct justice.

This, of course, isn't good news for the Rocket. The Feds don't take cases to a grand jury unless they're sure they've got the goods. And once the Feds prosecute a case, they've got an estimated 90-percent conviction rate. The burden of proof to get a grand jury to hand down an indictment is a lot less than the "beyond a reasonable doubt" needed to find guilt in a trial. A grand jury just has to find that "is more likely than not" that Rocket lied before Congress and tried to block the investigation. And if the Rocket is convicted, the odds are that he will be doing some jail time.

For those not familiar with how a grand jury works, then let me share with you a saying that I learned at law school: a grand jury will indict a ham sandwich if the prosecutor so instructs. And the odds are the prosecutor will be so instructing when it comes to Rocket. And unlike his appearance before Congress, or in an actual trial, the Rocket's attorney will not be allowed into the grand jury room with the Rocket when the Rocket is issued a subpoena and asked to testify.

The grand jury may start speaking to witnesses this week. While there is no list of witnesses, it's probable that the witness list will include the Rocket, Mrs. Rocket, Andy Pettitte, Mrs. Pettitte, Brian McNamee, Kirk Radomski, the guy who supplied McNamee, and Jeff Novitzky, the Fed who made it his mission to bring down Barry Bonds. And the prosecutor currently handling the matter is the guy who prosecuted the D.C. Madam.

Just because the Rocket is indicted does not mean that he will be found guilty, primarily because perjury and obstruction cases are among the hardest in criminal law to prove. Two things will hurt Clements, however. Rusty Hardin's good ole Texas boy routine might not work as well before a D.C. jury. And Lanny Breuer, who came onto help Rocket with his Congressional appearance, is expected to be named as the head of the Justice Department's criminal division under President Barack Obama. Should that happen, Breuer will be forced to recuse himself from all matters Rocket-related.

So I was looking forward to a fun post today. I got to write about Rocket instead. And let's just say that I hope Rusty Hardin is really stressing to his client what just might be about to happen to him. And if Hardin can't do it, I suggest Hardin get Barry Bonds on the phone. Perhaps Bonds can explain for the Rocket just how much fun a grand jury investigation into your life really is.


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