Usually I wouldn't give my attention to a court case which was obviously pursued for optimum congressional grandstanding, but the verdict to this case is certainly interesting:
Baseball pitching great Roger Clemens was found not guilty Monday of lying to Congress during an investigation of steroid use among major league players.
If you are not familiar with Roger Clemens, he is a 7 time Cy Young Winning Pitcher and considered one of the great pitchers of the modern era. He was a lock as a first ballot hall of famer until his trainer Brian McNamee provided evidence of his and Andy Pettite's performance enhancing drug use in the Mitchell Report:
Toward the end of the road trip which included the Marlins series, or shortly after the Blue Jays returned home to Toronto, Clemens approached McNamee and, for the first time, brought up the subject of using steroids. Clemens said that he was not able to inject himself, and he asked for McNamee’s help.
Later that summer, Clemens asked McNamee to inject him with Winstrol, which Clemens supplied.
This is damaging, but in many cases testimonial evidence can be dismissed by a jury. However, shortly after the report was released Clemens' teammate Andy Pettitte admitted receiving HGH from Brian Mcnamee. While Pettitte didn't state that Clemens was also using the drug it provided circumstantial evidence that Clemens was definitely around the drug usage.
This evidence though doesn't even come close to the most damaging materials presented in the trial:
the most direct conflict came among expert witnesses as to how to interpret a collection of discarded medical items that allegedly linked Clemens to steroid use. The pitcher did not take the stand in his defense.
Soiled medical wrappings, cotton balls, drug vials and hypodermic needles that McNamee kept were interpreted differently by each side. Witnesses for the government said genetic material linked with Clemens suggested it was impossible for McNamee to fabricate the evidence.
But defense witnesses on the same topic said storage in a beer can for years allowed commingling and contamination of materials, making reliable conclusions impossible, and the evidence nearly worthless.
To state that it was strange for Mcnamee to keep old vials and needles used by Clemens is an understatement, but its still significant evidence. This is DNA evidence that a doping needle was put inside his body. Could it be fabricated? Absolutely, but the liklihood of that being the case is extremely low and with the other circumstantial evidence it certainly points to Clemens' guilt.
This is probably the dumbest part of the court case though:
CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin said a big part of Clemens' defense was, in essence, putting Congress on trial -- claiming they were never serious about using whatever testimony was given to shape future legislation.
"He was basically saying, Congress was putting on a show. They didn't care," Toobin said of Hardin. "They just wanted Clemens to come up there, they weren't planning to do anything with the testimony."
If I was on that jury and heard this defense I would have to stop myself from yelling guilty right that second. If a cop asks you what happened at the scene of a crime, it is likely your testimony won't be used. Does that mean I can lie to the cop maybe to avoid future involvement in the court case? More importantly, if I do get caught lying should the cops charge me with a crime even though my testimony wasn't critical to the case? Hardin should be ashamed with himself implying that misinforming a congressional committee is okay as long as the lie isn't important.
Despite all this evidence, Clemens got off scott free. Why did that happen? Was it because of lack of evidence? Well short of having a confession they had presented every other type of evidence so I'd say no. Is it because he is famous? Maybe, but others have been sent to jail for the same crime an carried a level of celebrity. What could it be?
Its really simple, he's rich. Clemens went into that courtroom and despite having circumstantial, testimonial and scientific evidence pointing to his guilt, he got off.
Again, the congressional investigation of steroids in baseball was a complete waste of time and money. It was pointless. Still, once you are charged with a crime, however dumb, you should be tried equal to anyone else who commits the same crime. If this is not enough evidence to convict of a crime, we wouldn't ever get anyone convicted.
Its a stupid court case sure, but it once again shows how there are two justice systems in America: one for the rich and a real one for the rest.