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Monday, June 18, 2012

Quinn: Roger Clemens Acquitted on All Counts

From the twitters:

Roger Clemens has been acquitted of all charges. He squeezed Rusty Hardin’s hand in thanks as the last count was read.

Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 18, 2012 at 04:49 PM | 85 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: astros, blue jays, legal, red sox, roger clemens, steroids, yankees

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   1. Srul Itza Posted: June 18, 2012 at 04:53 PM (#4160333)
Your tax dollars at work.
   2. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: June 18, 2012 at 04:54 PM (#4160335)
Just out of curiosity, if you exclude everything from McNamee, what's the evidence that Clemens used steroids? Other than, "C'mon, you know he totally did steroids"?
   3. Kiko Sakata Posted: June 18, 2012 at 04:56 PM (#4160337)
I'm curious to see how this changes peoples' perception of Clemens. He and Bonds were very much two peas in a pod - accused, denied, charged with perjury - but Bonds was found guilty of perjury and I believe his jury hung on the other charges (including 11-1 for conviction on one), which is a pretty clear difference from acquitted on all counts for Clemens. I'll be interested to see how this is spun and how much better Clemens does than Bonds in HOF voting. My guess is that this won't change many minds and will be spun as a miscarriage of justice.
   4. Tripon Posted: June 18, 2012 at 04:56 PM (#4160338)
Throwing a bat at Mike Piazza with no provocation in the middle of a major public event.
   5. birdlives is one crazy ninja Posted: June 18, 2012 at 04:57 PM (#4160341)
what's the evidence that Clemens used steroids?

Unusual aging curve. Of course, YMMV regarding the validity of that argument.
   6. RJ in TO Posted: June 18, 2012 at 04:58 PM (#4160343)
I'm curious to see how this changes peoples' perception of Clemens.

I expect the answer to this will be "Not at all."
   7. Kiko Sakata Posted: June 18, 2012 at 04:59 PM (#4160344)
if you exclude everything from McNamee, what's the evidence that Clemens used steroids?


In terms of what the prosecution presented in this case? My understanding is none (unless you count a conversation that he might have had with Andy Pettitte, which Pettitte conceded on the stand only had a 50% chance of actually having happened).
   8. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 18, 2012 at 04:59 PM (#4160346)
He and Bonds were very much two peas in a pod - accused, denied, charged with perjury
I think there's a pretty significant difference. Clemens denied use, Bonds denied knowing use. He didn't challenge evidence that he had, without his own knowledge, taken various designer steroids.

I have no idea how that will affect the cultural narratives about the two men, but I think it's a meaningful distinction when considering how they'll be remembered.
   9. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: June 18, 2012 at 05:02 PM (#4160350)
but Bonds was found guilty of perjury

No, he wasn't.
   10. Kiko Sakata Posted: June 18, 2012 at 05:02 PM (#4160351)
Bonds denied knowing use. He didn't challenge evidence that he had, without his own knowledge, taken various designer steroids.


That's a fair point.
   11. Kiko Sakata Posted: June 18, 2012 at 05:04 PM (#4160356)
No, he wasn't.


You're right. Sorry, I was conflating the two cases. Clemens was charged with perjury on a non-PED issue (the Canseco party), but you're right, Bonds was found guilty of "obstruction of justice" or some such.

   12. The Yankee Clapper Posted: June 18, 2012 at 05:06 PM (#4160361)
I'm curious to see how this changes peoples' perception of Clemens.

I expect the answer to this will be "Not at all."

Perhaps, but there should be some folks who'll accept the results of the American legal system. I don't see why Joe Sportswriter or Fred Fan should think they have superior knowledge of the subject.
   13. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: June 18, 2012 at 05:08 PM (#4160362)
Perhaps, but there should be some folks who'll accept the results of the American legal system. I don't see why Joe Sportswriter or Fred Fan should think they have superior knowledge of the subject.


And yet they will.

And in fact they might be right about that. I haven't followed the case too closely but in most cases a lot of evidence is publicly available that is not available to the jury. I imagine the folks who have followed this case closely know more than the jury knew.
   14. Monty Posted: June 18, 2012 at 05:09 PM (#4160366)
Well, that was productive. Good work, everybody!
   15. Ephus Posted: June 18, 2012 at 05:09 PM (#4160367)
McNamee was a horrible witness. If you are going to put on a one-cooperator case, you need really solid corroboration. Here, the corroboration was less than spectacular, particularly once Pettite gave his ambiguous testimony that it was only 50/50 that he correctly remembered Clemens prior statement about having used PEDs. The rest of the corroboration (from what I read) was Radomski's statement that he shipped PEDs to McNamee at Clemens' address (corroborated by a partial FedEx slip that had gone missing for years under a television), McNamee's prior statements that he had kept paraphernalia from injecting players, and the medical waste in the beer can. There were also some cryptic e-mails that could be read as inculpatory.

If Clemens is wise, he will quit while he is ahead and not pursue his civil case against McNamee in New York. The money is obviously irrelevant, since Clemens has more than he could ever spend and McNamee is broke. On the PR front, a Clemens victory would barely move the needle, while a loss would be devastating.
   16. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: June 18, 2012 at 05:10 PM (#4160368)
I don't think this trial will have any impact on anybody's opinion of anybody. Nobody thinks a trial for Steriods was a good idea or would reveal any truth. If someone suspects a few other players of committing Steriods, they have no interest in seeing them go to trial to determine the truth. Nobody thinks any legal-quality evidence is out there. I find it amazing that whoever started this whole trial process, or the Bonds one, thought anyone would care about it.
   17. Damon Rutherford Posted: June 18, 2012 at 05:11 PM (#4160369)
Throwing a bat at Mike Piazza with no provocation in the middle of a major public event.

I have reacted similarly (i.e., violent outburst) when competing against others or even all by my lonesome, and the harshest drug I've consumed is caffeine.
   18. Morty Causa Posted: June 18, 2012 at 05:13 PM (#4160373)
Moreover, Bonds lucked out in that a prime corroborating witness refused to testify. This is everything they had against Clemens, and it is pathetic, and anyone who can't see that needs to take some sort of remedial tutorial of some sort.

I think it will make a difference. It certainly can make a difference. I think anyone cares about who goes into the HOF (I don't) should see this as the opportunity of a lifetime.

First, and this may be a first, I'd like to commend Ray and David and everyone else who followed the whole thing closely and explained it so clearly and well. My views on PEDs and baseball is much more ambivalent than those who think it's all a tempest in a teapot. But, with respect to the HOF, and driving a nail in the coffin that holds the corpse of absolute disqualification, I urge them not to slack now. This is your chance. Writers read you guys, just like they did with the discussions about Blyleven. As Rainier Wolfcastle would say, "up and at them."
   19. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 18, 2012 at 05:15 PM (#4160376)
I've been in the arena on this one -- perjury cases are very hard to win. Pursuit of many a nearly certain lie has been prosecutorial discretioned away well before a trial.

You had here a terrible "star" witness who is himself a proven liar.(*) The physical evidence he presented was created and maintained under circumstances that made him look even weirder. Take away the famous defendant and teh roids and there's no way this case is brought.

(*) Whether or not on the key issue in the case.
   20. Willie Mayspedester Posted: June 18, 2012 at 05:16 PM (#4160377)
Question: Who is a bigger turd Clemens or Schilling?

EDIT: Bonus question who wasted more taxpayer money???
   21. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 18, 2012 at 05:18 PM (#4160379)
It's been my position since the 2008 Congressional hearing that Clemens would not be convicted of perjury with Brian McNamee as the chief witness, given that McNamee was hopelessly non-credible as a witness. I said all along that the government would need more evidence than what McNamee provided, and so the only way Clemens would get convicted is if the government's investigation turned up evidence we were (at that time) unaware of.

As it turned out, of course, the government's insane investigation, while costing tens of millions, turned up nothing more. I think I even predicted that the government would not bring a case against Clemens if all they essentially had was McNamee -- but the government proved to be even more idiotic than I gave them credit for.

   22. Monty Posted: June 18, 2012 at 05:19 PM (#4160381)
I'd like to commend Ray and David and everyone else who followed the whole thing closely and explained it so clearly and well.


Agreed! The threads on this site were very informative about what was actually happening with the trial. I felt like I only vaguely followed it, but I knew more than most of the columnists.
   23. zenbitz Posted: June 18, 2012 at 05:20 PM (#4160382)
IT'S OVER. IT'S ALWAYS BEEN OVER.
   24. The Yankee Clapper Posted: June 18, 2012 at 05:20 PM (#4160383)
I imagine the folks who have followed this case closely know more than the jury knew.

I think it was the folks who didn't follow the case closely who thought they knew more than they did. Hence the "surprise" at Pettitte's trial testimony, which was awfully similar to his publicly-available deposition testimony. Even some who participated in the Steroid Wars here for years didn't seem to grasp how unhelpful his testimony was going to be for the government's case.
   25. Ephus Posted: June 18, 2012 at 05:20 PM (#4160384)
I would love to hear what the jurors had to say about the medical waste. It seemed as if Hardin was convincing in demonstrating that McNamee was the sort of person who would fabricate evidence in order to "improve" a story.

   26. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 18, 2012 at 05:25 PM (#4160389)
I would love to hear what the jurors had to say about the medical waste. It seemed as if Hardin was convincing in demonstrating that McNamee was the sort of person who would fabricate evidence in order to "improve" a story.

McNamee's testimony on why he created the evidence was flatly contradicted by his own wife. He was a dreadful witness (a tactical and strategic, not moral, judgment). The case should not have been prosecuted.
   27. Ephus Posted: June 18, 2012 at 05:28 PM (#4160392)
I think it was the folks who didn't follow the case closely who thought they knew more than they did. Hence the "surprise" at Pettitte's trial testimony, which was awfully similar to his publicly-available deposition testimony. Even some who participated in the Steroid Wars here for years didn't seem to grasp how unhelpful his testimony was going to be for the government's case.


What surprised me about Pettite's testimony was that the government did not have Pettite lined up to testify that upon reflection, despite Clemens' statement that he had not previously used HGH and had told Pettite about Debbie Clemens' HGH use, he was confident that Clemens' prior statement had been about Clemens' own use, not Debbie's. Judge Walton commented at sidebar that he had expected the USAO to introduce such testimony on re-direct, and that their failure to do so caused him to seriously consider excluding Pettite's testimony.
   28. Moeball Posted: June 18, 2012 at 05:29 PM (#4160394)
I suspect that most BBWAA minds were already made up before the trial and that probably won't change afterwards.

I doubt either Clemens or Bonds will get elected to the HOF in 2013 although writers may relent eventually somewhere down the road. On the other hand, I fully expect Jack Morris to go in next year(sigh).
   29. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: June 18, 2012 at 05:32 PM (#4160397)
I suspect that most BBWAA minds were already made up before the trial and that probably won't change afterwards.
This x ∞

Given that after all the evidence was in and the case had gone to the jury, idiot reporters were still talking about how obviously Clemens was guilty, it's clear that they stopped paying attention after their two minutes of hate at Pettitte for "changing his story."
   30. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 18, 2012 at 05:33 PM (#4160398)
At the end of the day, this boiled down to the simple fact that ALL of the evidence against Clemens was hopelessly tied to Brian McNamee, and no sane prosecutor could honestly like his chances of securing a conviction BARD using McNamee as his main witness.

This verdict doesn't mean Clemens didn't use steroids/HGH, of course, nor does it mean that McNamee was lying about the central claim. But from Day 1 Clemens maintained his innocence. He released a statement maintaining his innocence, and was called to say it in his own words. He released a youtube video doing that, and was called to say it to a reporter. He said it to Mike Wallace, and it was demanded (such as from Mike Lupica) that Clemens say it to a group of reporters and that he sue Brian McNamee. He said it to a group of reporters and filed suit against Brian McNamee, and it was demanded that he testify under oath in front of Congress. (Quoting from a Lupica column: "Don't tell us. Tell Congress.") Clemens told Congress under oath, knowing that he was walking into a perjury trap, and yet that still wasn't good enough for people who, it turned out, were no good themselves. Clemens was then indicted and refused -- completely refused -- to plead out or strike any sort of a deal with prosecutors.

Clemens did everything that his critics -- themselves unreasonable, dishonest, and dishonorable -- demanded that he do, all along the way. When these same people moved the goalposts on him time and time again, he kicked it through the new goalpost, time and time again. He put his liberty at stake and prevailed despite the government setting a perjury trap for him and then spending tens of millions of dollars in a crazed vendetta to bring him to trial. He did all of this, and prevailed.

One might think this would earn Clemens the slightest benefit of the doubt in the eyes of his critics, but when your critics are unreasonable, dishonest, and dishonorable people, the reality is that that will not happen.

Clemens has done some dishonorable things in his life. He admitted that he stepped out on his wife, for example, after a vendetta-fied investigation by the Daily News turned up Mindy McCready and other mistresses. But on this issue, Clemens has more honor than all of the Mike Lupicas and John Heymans put together.
   31. Tripon Posted: June 18, 2012 at 05:33 PM (#4160399)
OJ Simpson is still looking for the real killers, btw.
   32. Ephus Posted: June 18, 2012 at 05:36 PM (#4160400)
McNamee's testimony on why he created the evidence was flatly contradicted by his own wife. He was a dreadful witness (a tactical and strategic, not moral, judgment). The case should not have been prosecuted


I agree on all fronts. There is a reason that prosecutors often use their discretion not to prosecute based upon a single cooperator. I have seen single cooperator cases with worse cooperators lead to conviction, but you need great corroboration (like audio taped confessions or contemporaneous video).

I still want to hear the jurors explain what they thought about the medical waste. They could have concluded that there was reasonable doubt as to whether McNamee fabricated the evidence -- which seemed to be the defense's theory. But they might also have concluded that even taken at face value the medical waste did not establish that Clemens used PEDs, because of the possibility of "innocent" cross-contamination. If the first trial had gone forward on schedule, Hardin was not planning to introduce any expert testimony regarding the possibility of cross-contamination, but instead was going to stake the defense on attacking McNamee. I would like to know if Hardin's tactical shift made any difference.





   33. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: June 18, 2012 at 05:39 PM (#4160404)
I think the only thing most people took from this story was Mrs. Clemens stating unequivocally that she used HGH. Thus anyone predisposed to think Clemens used HGH, and plenty of other people, conclude that he absolutely did so. "Evidence", maybe there was some, maybe not. Not many people think he should actually go to jail or whatever. Just, you know, be confirmed as a bad guy.
   34. dlf Posted: June 18, 2012 at 05:43 PM (#4160407)
this boiled down to the simple fact that ALL of the evidence against Clemens was hopelessly tied to Brian McNamee ...


Well, they did have the kid who testified pretty clearly that Clemens was at the Canseco party. Now I don't think that Clemens denial was material (and it seemed from Quinn's twitter like Walton was inclined to toss the charge if that was the only guilty verdict) but there was at least factual evidence not tied to McNamee that would establish one false statement part of the obstruction charge. After Bonds' conviction for telling a rambling story about being the son of a celebrity, I wouldn't have been surprised to see the jury return such a verdict on that charge here.
   35. McCoy Posted: June 18, 2012 at 05:43 PM (#4160408)
Barry Bonds denied knowingly or unknowingly ever taking steroids and his defense never ever conceded that he used steroids knowingly or unknowingly.
   36. Guapo Posted: June 18, 2012 at 05:45 PM (#4160410)
The story I'd like to read was how this case got prosecuted. Did members of the Committee essentially demand that DOJ go after Clemens? Or was the decision made within DOJ? I'm assuming there are a lot of smart attorneys at DOJ that realized pretty quickly what a lemon of a case this was.
   37. Srul Itza Posted: June 18, 2012 at 05:47 PM (#4160415)
I imagine the folks who have followed this case closely know more than the jury knew.


Yeah, but a lot of that was additional information about what a scumbag McNamee was.
   38. Guapo Posted: June 18, 2012 at 05:49 PM (#4160418)
From a Lester Munson article on espn.com last week:

Agents from the FBI, the IRS and the DEA have devoted countless hours to the pursuit of Clemens, digging into every aspect of his life. They gathered thousands of pages of documents, and they went all over the United States interviewing anyone who knew anything about Clemens.

Here is a list of the documents they examined:

• 15,732 pages of Clemens family bank records from J.P. Morgan Chase.

• 1,139 pages of records from American Express credit cards.

• More than 300 pages of medical records from MLB teams for which Clemens played.

• Hundreds of pages of phone records from nine companies.

In addition to reviewing the documents, a group of 93 agents interviewed 179 individuals in 68 locations and produced 235 reports of their interviews. The Clemens legal team prepared a map that shows the extent of the agents' work. In many of the interviews, the agents were accompanied either in person or on the phone by assistant U.S. attorneys Steven Durham and Daniel Butler, who led the government trial team.
   39. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: June 18, 2012 at 05:49 PM (#4160420)
You're right. Sorry, I was conflating the two cases. Clemens was charged with perjury on a non-PED issue (the Canseco party), but you're right, Bonds was found guilty of "obstruction of justice" or some such.
It's not that he was found guilty of ooj rather than perjury; it's that the ooj count was not about steroid use.
   40. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 18, 2012 at 05:50 PM (#4160422)
The story I'd like to read was how this case got prosecuted. Did members of the Committee essentially demand that DOJ go after Clemens? Or was the decision made within DOJ? I'm assuming there are a lot of smart attorneys at DOJ that realized pretty quickly what a lemon of a case this was.


The Committee sent some dumb letter to the DOJ some time after the 2008 hearing, basically asking the DOJ to look into it. Even the Committee's letter was hopelessly biased against Clemens, making inferences against him that should not have fairly been made against him.

   41. Kiko Sakata Posted: June 18, 2012 at 05:53 PM (#4160428)
it's that the ooj count was not about steroid use.


That I remembered, although wasn't it reported that the jury was 11-1 pro-conviction on an actual perjury about PEDs count? Not that it matters; that was also a prosecutorial over-reach that shouldn't have come to trial. It just seems to leave a good bit more for a "Bonds used PEDs" writer to hang his hat on than this does for a "Clemens used PEDs" writer.
   42. dlf Posted: June 18, 2012 at 05:55 PM (#4160431)
Barry Bonds denied knowingly or unknowingly ever taking steroids and his defense never ever conceded that he used steroids knowingly or unknowingly.


No. In opening statements, the defense specifically denied 'knowingly' but did not deny ever having taken PEDs. If I recall correctly, evidence came out at that trial that a sample (part of the illegally seized threshold testing group?) that had tested negative with the then current testing protocal later tested positive using more advanced techniques.
   43. dlf Posted: June 18, 2012 at 05:57 PM (#4160433)
... although wasn't it reported that the jury was 11-1 pro-conviction on an actual perjury about PEDs count?


Not that I trust reporting on the confidential deliberations in a jury room, but I think the reporting was 11-1 on the 'have you ever been injected by anyone other than your doctor' charge.
   44. Srul Itza Posted: June 18, 2012 at 05:58 PM (#4160434)


That I remembered, although wasn't it reported that the jury was 11-1 pro-conviction on an actual perjury about PEDs count?


I think the 11-1 was about whether Bonds had ever been injected by anyone other than a doctor. There was testimony for someone (Greg Anderson's sister or something) that she saw this happen.

EDIT: Right relation, wrong person -- Kathy Hoskins, The sister of Bonds' former business manager, Steve Hoskins, testified she saw him being injected by Anderson, but not about what was in the needle
   45. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: June 18, 2012 at 05:58 PM (#4160435)
The money is obviously irrelevant, since Clemens has more than he could ever spend...


How do you know he doesn't want to start a video game business?
   46. McCoy Posted: June 18, 2012 at 05:59 PM (#4160436)
No.

Yes.

The opening statement was basically a rewording of Bonds' denial from the grand jury and like I said the defense never ever conceded that he unknowingly took steroids.
   47. Kiko Sakata Posted: June 18, 2012 at 06:00 PM (#4160439)
I think the reporting was 11-1 on the 'have you ever been injected by anyone other than your doctor' charge.


Fair enough. I don't want to sound like I'm defending the Bonds prosecution. It just seems to me that a reasonable person following the Bonds trial could be reasonably convinced that Bonds used PEDs at some point in his career (see, e.g., your #42) (while still believing that Bonds shouldn't have been charged and that the prosecution failed to make their case). A reasonable person following the Clemens trial would, I think, come to the same conclusion as the jury did here: there's no "there" there.
   48. Tripon Posted: June 18, 2012 at 06:03 PM (#4160441)
A reasonable person following the Clemens trial would, I think, come to the same conclusion as the jury did here: there's no "there" there.


I don't know about that, I personally believe that Clemens used some sort of PED. But, the government can't convict him based on that sort of evidence they produced. There is a 'there', its just the 'there' that the government shown wasn't 'there.'
   49. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: June 18, 2012 at 06:04 PM (#4160442)
The verdict may have been a foregone conclusion to DMN, Ray, et al, but it seems it wasn't to Clemens. He cried after it was read. Maybe he was pooping his pantaloons a bit?
   50. bfan Posted: June 18, 2012 at 06:05 PM (#4160444)
On the PR front, a Clemens victory would barely move the needle


A pun of classic quality.
   51. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 18, 2012 at 06:07 PM (#4160445)
A reasonable person following the Clemens trial would, I think, come to the same conclusion as the jury did here: there's no "there" there.


Not exactly. McNamee's central claim that he injected Clemens is a "there." The problem with the case was always that one can't seriously hope to meet the BARD standard on that central claim on the back of McNamee.
   52. Avoid running at all times.-S. Paige Posted: June 18, 2012 at 06:13 PM (#4160449)
He cried after it was read. Maybe he was pooping his pantaloons a bit?


Or he mistakenly thinks this decision vindicates him in the eyes of the public.

I didn't follow this closely but was the diet soda cans filled with syringes evidence ever allowed as evidence?
   53. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: June 18, 2012 at 06:16 PM (#4160450)
I think the only thing most people took from this story was Mrs. Clemens stating unequivocally that she used HGH. Thus anyone predisposed to think Clemens used HGH, and plenty of other people, conclude that he absolutely did so. "Evidence", maybe there was some, maybe not. Not many people think he should actually go to jail or whatever. Just, you know, be confirmed as a bad guy.
It corroborates him saying he talked to Pettitte about his wife using HGH, too.
   54. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: June 18, 2012 at 06:19 PM (#4160452)
I didn't follow this closely but was the diet soda cans filled with syringes evidence ever allowed as evidence?
It came out that there were needles also in the bag with DNA from known steroid users, and it's impossible to say whether the cotton swab was connected to Clemens at all.
   55. RJ in TO Posted: June 18, 2012 at 06:19 PM (#4160453)
I didn't follow this closely but was the diet soda cans filled with syringes evidence ever allowed as evidence?

Yes.
   56. Biscuit_pants Posted: June 18, 2012 at 06:21 PM (#4160454)
Here is a list of the documents they examined:

• 15,732 pages of Clemens family bank records from J.P. Morgan Chase.
sooo they only read the legal disclaimers and the advertisments and never got to the charges?
   57. RMc is a fine piece of cheese Posted: June 18, 2012 at 06:23 PM (#4160456)
Clemens, like John Edwards, should go to jail just on general principle. I don't care if they actually broke any laws or not.
   58. Avoid running at all times.-S. Paige Posted: June 18, 2012 at 06:24 PM (#4160457)
It came out that there were needles also in the bag with DNA from known steroid users.


Please tell me he had their matching action figures and baseball cards.
   59. jwb Posted: June 18, 2012 at 06:37 PM (#4160468)
Bonus question who wasted more taxpayer money?


Former Gov. Donald Carcieri of Rhode Island was the prime mover of the Studio 38 loan, so I understand.

It was under former AG Michael Mukasey's regime that the DOJ filed the charges against Clemens, but I would guess that more money has been spent under AG Eric Holder. AGs are generally unwilling to drop high profile cases begun before their terms, so YMMV.

So, Carcieri, Holder, Mukasey. The last two varying depending on your tastes.

OJ Simpson is still looking for the real killers, btw.


He's unlikely to find them where he'll be spending the next 6 to 29 years.
http://www.doc.nv.gov/?q=node/26
   60. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: June 18, 2012 at 06:40 PM (#4160473)
The person really owed an apology by the pundits today, even more than Clemens, is Rusty Hardin.  How many of these idiots, whose knowledge of the law is based on what they saw on Boston Legal, repeatedly blasted Hardin's strategy over the past few months/years?  How many of them sneered that Clemens was going to go to prison because Hardin didn't know what he was doing?
   61. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: June 18, 2012 at 06:40 PM (#4160474)
I thought it was a Miller Lite can. They even had an "expert" testify that the can in question would have been distributed at about the time that McNamee claimed to have saved the syringe.
   62. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 18, 2012 at 06:45 PM (#4160479)
Leave it to The Daily News to have in its slanted story reporting the verdict (including a quote from Richard Emery saying that Clemens has only won round one and that McNamee's defamation suit awaits) that the judge "tied one of the prosecution's hands behind its back" with his evidentiary rulings.

As if judges are supposed to use the sportswriters' approach to running trials, and let all evidence in because we already know he is so guilty.

   63. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 18, 2012 at 06:50 PM (#4160484)
Clemens did everything that his critics -- themselves unreasonable, dishonest, and dishonorable -- demanded that he do, all along the way. When these same people moved the goalposts on him time and time again, he kicked it through the new goalpost, time and time again. He put his liberty at stake and prevailed despite the government setting a perjury trap for him and then spending tens of millions of dollars in a crazed vendetta to bring him to trial. He did all of this, and prevailed.

One might think this would earn Clemens the slightest benefit of the doubt in the eyes of his critics, but when your critics are unreasonable, dishonest, and dishonorable people, the reality is that that will not happen.


You're absolutely right about the first part, and I hope you're wrong about the second. I stand by my conviction that this will result in a noticeable difference in Clemens vs Bonds HoF votes, but perhaps that's because I have more residual faith in human beings than I should.

And I'll second the deserved kudos for you and David in sticking to the details of this case when not that many other people were. Your arguments (as reflected in the trial) may or may not move the needle (groan) with too many BBWAA writers, but AFAIC your time here on this case was well spent.
   64. tshipman Posted: June 18, 2012 at 06:51 PM (#4160485)
Clemens has done some dishonorable things in his life. He admitted that he stepped out on his wife, for example, after a vendetta-fied investigation by the Daily News turned up Mindy McCready and other mistresses. But on this issue, Clemens has more honor than all of the Mike Lupicas and John Heymans put together.


I thought this was a really good post, Ray.

I'd also like to second the idea that I felt very well informed on this trial due to DN and RDP's comments on the various threads.
   65. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: June 18, 2012 at 07:05 PM (#4160494)
As if judges are supposed to use the sportswriters' approach to running trials, and let all evidence in because we already know he is so guilty.
The sportswriters' approach is similar to the trial at the end of Pink Floyd's The Wall:

The evidence before the court is incontrovertible, there's no need for the jury to retire. In all my years of judging I have never seen before someone so deserving the full penalty of law.
   66. Sheer Tim Foli Posted: June 18, 2012 at 08:03 PM (#4160530)
Credit where it is due - Ray called this years ago. At one point early on I thought the Rocket was screwed and Ray kept hammering the lack of evidence outside one unreliable source. It is exactly how it played out.
   67. McCoy Posted: June 18, 2012 at 08:05 PM (#4160532)
The difference between Clemens ands Bonds is that one is white and the other is not.
   68. The Yankee Clapper Posted: June 18, 2012 at 08:28 PM (#4160543)
I stand by my conviction that this will result in a noticeable difference in Clemens vs Bonds HoF votes . . .

There's a pretty good chance that the 9th Circuit will find that talking like Casey Stengel is *not* a crime, IMHO. That may erase any difference between Bonds and Clemens, although perhaps not by the time the first year ballots are cast.
   69. McCoy Posted: June 18, 2012 at 08:39 PM (#4160563)
Rough time line of the Barry Bonds' case

SAN FRANCISCO - Federal prosecutors have been given a 45-day delay until July 19 to respond to Barry Bonds' appeal of his obstruction of justice conviction.

The career home run leader filed a 60-page brief on May 3 with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and the government's response had been due June 4.

The court granted the request prosecutors filed Wednesday and gave Bonds until 14 days after the government brief to file his optional reply. The delay likely pushes back oral arguments until October or November, and decision by a three-judge panel until late 2013 at the earliest.

   70. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: June 18, 2012 at 08:47 PM (#4160568)
perhaps that's because I have more residual faith in human beings than I should


Ahh, don't we all?
   71. zenbitz Posted: June 18, 2012 at 08:48 PM (#4160575)
Thx mccoy i was windering how we got to 60-odd posts without this note
   72. Lassus Posted: June 18, 2012 at 10:12 PM (#4160659)
I wonder if we can end up with a reliable total figure of cost on this one.
   73. Random Transaction Generator Posted: June 18, 2012 at 10:33 PM (#4160683)
I thought it was a Miller Lite can. They even had an "expert" testify that the can in question would have been distributed at about the time that McNamee claimed to have saved the syringe.


Were they worried that Encyclopedia Brown was working for the defense?

That would have been an AWESOME reveal during court.
   74. Darren Posted: June 18, 2012 at 10:42 PM (#4160689)
Great post by Ray.

I have to say, though, I'm shocked they didn't "pull a Bonds" and find something, anything, to convict him on.
   75. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: June 18, 2012 at 11:37 PM (#4160723)
Indeed. #30 is one of my favorite posts in BBTF history.

As a former prosecutor, I'm more than interested in knowing how this case got past the lame memo from the Hill to 'look into this.' I'm inclined to think it was one or more (ok, more) windbags in Congress tearing up somebody in Justice about how 'nobody comes in here and barks at me like a junkyard dog......don't you know who I am?.....we've got to clean up X and send a message...' Then all it takes is a couple sorry attention seeking AUSAs, and a 'how can we lose this?' case and I think I have my answer. I guess they banked on finding something in addition to McNamee.
   76. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 19, 2012 at 01:36 AM (#4160770)
Here's a ridiculous comment from Mike Francesa from WFAN in New York. And Francesa is not even one of the steroids witch hunters.

Quoting now:

"Let him go before a bunch of sportswriters or a bunch of broadcasters or media people and let us ask him questions - with no narrow range of subject matter - and let him stand up to that scrutiny. He will not allow himself to do that. This was a very narrow scope."

Hilarious.
   77. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: June 19, 2012 at 01:41 AM (#4160773)
To be fair, the working sports media IS far more powerful than the federal government. Their conviction rate is 100%.
   78. toratoratora Posted: June 19, 2012 at 02:48 AM (#4160801)
from Day 1 Clemens maintained his innocence. He released a statement maintaining his innocence, and was called to say it in his own words. He released a youtube video doing that, and was called to say it to a reporter. He said it to Mike Wallace, and it was demanded (such as from Mike Lupica) that Clemens say it to a group of reporters and that he sue Brian McNamee. He said it to a group of reporters and filed suit against Brian McNamee, and it was demanded that he testify under oath in front of Congress. (Quoting from a Lupica column: "Don't tell us. Tell Congress.") Clemens told Congress under oath, knowing that he was walking into a perjury trap, and yet that still wasn't good enough for people who, it turned out, were no good themselves. Clemens was then indicted and refused -- completely refused -- to plead out or strike any sort of a deal with prosecutors.

Clemens did everything that his critics -- themselves unreasonable, dishonest, and dishonorable -- demanded that he do, all along the way. When these same people moved the goalposts on him time and time again, he kicked it through the new goalpost, time and time again. He put his liberty at stake and prevailed despite the government setting a perjury trap for him and then spending tens of millions of dollars in a crazed vendetta to bring him to trial. He did all of this, and prevailed.

One might think this would earn Clemens the slightest benefit of the doubt in the eyes of his critics, but when your critics are unreasonable, dishonest, and dishonorable people, the reality is that that will not happen.


I want to send this to every sportwriter in America.
Nice, hell, terrific, post.
The shame is that as I was reading it,Kurkjian is on ESPN saying that the verdict won't matter, that Clemens is damned in the eyes of the writers.
And it pisses me off.
Lots.
I mean, I'm not going to stand here and say whether I think Clemens did or didn't do PED's, but daaaay-yuuuum, the man pretty much did everything anyone could have asked of him, risked his liberty and a chunk of his fortune, got publicly lambasted, had his private life dragged through the mud, personal records combed through(And I tend to be of the mind that if the feds looked hard enough at dang near anybody they could find something to get nit-picky about) and then was acquitted...I'm just a bit morally offended that folks could continue to be such asses about this...and take proud public stances based on lies, half-truths and idiocy to boot. It's ugly, it's reprehensible and it's wrong.

Disclaimer-I'm a Red Sox fan, but not really a Clemens fan. I'm pretty much ambivalent about the guy. Loved him as a kid, but that died as I got old enough to realize what an ass he could be.
   79. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: June 19, 2012 at 05:19 AM (#4160822)
As a former prosecutor, I'm more than interested in knowing how this case got past the lame memo from the Hill to 'look into this.' I'm inclined to think it was one or more (ok, more) windbags in Congress tearing up somebody in Justice about how 'nobody comes in here and barks at me like a junkyard dog......don't you know who I am?.....
I think you ignore another important factor: George Mitchell. Clemens' denial was viewed as a personal affront to the incompetent Mitchell, who's a friend to many of the people in Congress. If the Mitchell report had been compiled by a random attorney -- let's say John Dowd -- then Congress wouldn't have cared.
we've got to clean up X and send a message...' Then all it takes is a couple sorry attention seeking AUSAs, and a 'how can we lose this?' case and I think I have my answer. I guess they banked on finding something in addition to McNamee.
They're used to dealing with underfunded defendants who fold when faced with overcharging prosecutors. (As a former prosecutor, Mrams knows this, but most people don't: if you're charged with five counts, and you are acquitted of four and convicted of the fifth, you can often be sentenced as though you had been convicted of all five.) In general, it only makes sense to go to trial if (a) the charges are so bad that there's not going to be a plea bargain you can live with (e.g., Jerry Sandusky), (b) there really is strong doubt about your guilt. So they very rarely have to try a case against competent, well-funded defense attorneys, and they're just not that good at it.
   80. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: June 19, 2012 at 05:28 AM (#4160824)
The shame is that as I was reading it,Kurkjian is on ESPN saying that the verdict won't matter, that Clemens is damned in the eyes of the writers.
And it pisses me off.
Lots.
What pisses me off is not that reporters are dismissing the verdict per se. If a reporter wants to argue that Clemens used PEDs because hat size and Duquette said his career was over and he pitched too well, that's just garden-variety mediocy. But what really pisses me off is that the arguments for his guilt tend to be one or more of the following:
(a) This wouldn't have happened if Andy Pettitte hadn't changed his story and lied to help his friend.
(b) Clemens must be guilty because McNamee had no reason to lie.
(c) Yeah, McNamee had credibility problems, but regardless of the verdict, Clemens must be guilty because of the large amount of evidence against him. [Note: not one person who says this identifies any such evidence.]
   81. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: June 19, 2012 at 06:14 AM (#4160830)
(d) Clemens' team of "well-paid lawyers" bamboozled the jury/overwhelmed the poor U.S. government;
(e) Tough nuts, Rocket, you're in the court of public opinion now;
(f) Verdict, shmerdict, I still know what I know. (However, had the verdict been "guilty," I would have grabbed onto that sumbitch and rode it like it was made of inflatable rubber, and I was drowning in the ocean.)
   82. Lassus Posted: June 19, 2012 at 06:54 AM (#4160836)
Headline of the Daily News this morning:

TRUTH STRIKES OUT

Hee.

   83. bob gee Posted: June 19, 2012 at 07:57 AM (#4160860)
62 (ny daily news) - madden and lupica have long based their stories on their opinion of the people involved rather than facts. but the nydn as a whole has moved markedly in the last couple months towards ny post style tabloid reporting and features.

   84. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 19, 2012 at 08:56 AM (#4160881)
So they very rarely have to try a case against competent, well-funded defense attorneys, and they're just not that good at it.

The rest of your post is spot-on, but actually the government is pretty good at winning cases. Their record gets distorted when cases are brought because of politics, which this one was. He-said, he-said stand-alone perjury cases (i.e., with no underlying substantive charges) are virtually never prosecuted and with a lead witness this bad, you can almost cross out the "virtually."

You bring perjury charges when you also have substantive underlying charges -- Martha Stewart, e.g. -- and you go to trial with horrible witnesses when you're vindicating some statute other than mere perjury -- date rape, organized crime, etc. There was simply no legitimate governmental interest in ferreting out who between Clemens and McNamee was telling the truth to Congress. None.
   85. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 19, 2012 at 08:59 AM (#4160885)
And the lesson of the Pettitte testimony is broader than just the 50-50 thing. As I've mentioned in the past, after Pettitte testified in his Congressional deposition, sportswriters bizarrely concluded that Pettitte had recited chapter and verse on Clemens's use. But really, all Pettitte had was some half-baked memory of a conversation from years earlier that he ultimately accepted he may have misunderstood. But instead of sportswriters admitting/understanding that Pettitte provided next to nothing, they carried on in childlike fashion as if his testimony had sunk Clemens.

During the trial Pettitte of course didn't change his story, but Attanasio did a good job of crystallizing for the jury that Pettitte's memory of this one conversation was only 50-50. And aside from that, Pettitte provided no evidence. If sportswriters were right from the beginning that Pettitte had chapter and verse on Clemens -- that there were (say) multiple conversations where Clemens had admitted use, or that Pettitte had actually witnessed Clemens using, etc. -- then the 50-50 thing about one conversation would have been no big deal. But sportswriters had been so busy celebrating over Pettitte's congressional deposition and doing a victory dance over that to realize that Pettitte not only didn't provide much evidence against Clemens at all, but that Pettitte's testimony was more notable for what it did NOT contain: any hard evidence -- such as Pettitte witnessing something -- that Clemens had used.

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