Feds Snap the Perjury Trap Shut on Roger Clemens

From The New York Times:

Federal authorities have decided to indict Roger Clemens on charges of making false statements to Congress about his use of performance-enhancing drugs, according to two people briefed on the matter.

This marks the second time the federal government has charged a famously unlikable Hall of Fame-caliber baseball player not with any underlying crime associated with taking or distributing drug treatments without a legal prescription, but for the Blagojevichian crime of lying under oath to people more powerful than they. Quite openly, and at great taxpayer expense, the government is trying to make examples out of showhorse athletes, preferably of the assholish variety.

Some related Reason reading:
* "Putting Stars Behind Bars," William L. Anderson and Candice E. Jackson, April 2009
* "Taking the Fifth," Matt Welch, March 2005
* "George Bush vs. Barry Bonds," Matt Welch, December 2004
* "Why Martha Stewart Should Go to Heaven and the SEC Should Go to Hell," Michael McMenamin, October 2003

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  • ||

    "Blagojevichian"

    I prefer "Marthaian".

    Alternatively, we could name it after the most famous user of the practice: "Spitzerian".

  • Yearning to Breathe Free||

    If I understand correctly, you can't claim the fifth when questioned by Congress. Is this true?

  • ||

    I seem to remember gangster types taking the 5th before Congress.

    No legal credentials here, of course.

  • ||

    "On the advice of counsel, I respectfully decline to answer that question."

    I remember that, too, but can't remember exactly who. The mobster wouldn't even tell them what his name was under oath. Sure, the mob guy came across as a jerk, but he made congress look stupid and impotent.

    I hope this backfires on them and that from now on anyone called to testify before them stonewalls everything.

  • ||

    I still wonder why no one has ever gone "fuck you, Senator--I plead the 5th" when called before congress. Yeah, they'd go apeshit, but you'd become an instant fucking celebrity. You'd be everyone's ringtone, and it would be huge for a while.

    "Por que no te callas!"

  • Ska||

    So basically the Chapelle skit where a crack dealer trades places with an Enron executive.

  • ||

    Sure, but I still am amazed that no one has ever done it for real. I mean, it must be pretty infuriating to be questioned by these preening morons, and if they ever had me in front of them for any reason, I know I would want to tell them to cram it with walnuts. Up their asses. I mean, if you're fucked anyway, why not get famous?

  • Ska||

    I'll take the fifth Senator Cockbreath. Although after last recess it smells more like cock and vermouth.

    Yeah, I could see the fun in saying something like that.

  • ||

    "Hey Waxman, why don't you and Chuck go down to the gym and pump each other."

  • alan||

    If I'm ever hauled up to congress, I have a plan. I'm going to wear my best set of clothing. A nice silk shirt, simple but elegant tie, my little Lennon specs which I keep tucked away, Oxfords, and dark blue slacks. Under my shirt I'll wear a padded bra. It will be the only deviation from the norm in my entire behavior. I'll answer their questions politely, fully and truthfully, with a ripe pair of torpedo tits aimed at the senators to distract them from their asinine questions and render their grandstanding mute.

  • VikingMoose||

    ooh! so he's an anteater...

    blago is a massive crook

  • Yearning to Breathe Free||

    But if you stonewall, can't they lock you up for contempt?

  • T||

    Repeat after me: "I cannot recall at this time". You may look like an Alzheimer's patient with the mental agility of a slug, but they can't hold you in contempt and they can't bust you for perjury.

  • Almanian||

    It ain't a court, and I can't be compelled to testify against my will. So:

    "Yes, Senator Nostrils, on the advice of counsel, I respectfully submit to you that you can suck my balls. You work for me - not the other way around. Now, if you douchebags will excuse me, I have to go make a positive impact on the economy. Fuck you very much."

    Damn - it felt good just typing that!

  • ||

    Congress can indeed subpoena your ass, and hold you in contempt of congress, but respectfully exercising one's fifth amenment rights, or inability to remember, are not contempt.

  • juris imprudent||

    I'm afraid this whole contempt of Congress concept is hopelessly backwards.

    I hold them in utter contempt and there is not a fucking thing they can do about it (other than stop being raging assholes).

  • ||

    ""If I understand correctly, you can't claim the fifth when questioned by Congress. Is this true?""

    No, you can claim the fifth.

    You can not ignore the subpeana, you must go to Congress, then claim the 5th. And while you're there you can ridicule them a bit like George Galloway did.

  • ||

    Mark McGwire took the 5th, and you saw what happened to him. True, Congress can't *force* you to respond, but the court of public opinion and fickle sportswriters are going to treat you as guilty until proven innocent if you refuse to answer.

  • ||

  • Pope Jimbo||

    I am certainly not a lawyer, but I think that Congress can grant you immunity and thus compel you to testify.

    If I remember right, this is how Ollie North beat the rap. He invoked the 5th when called to testify. Then Congress gave him immunity and compelled him to testify. Later when they tried to prosecute him anyhow his lawyer said Ollie was screwed by being forced to testify. Of course that was a long time ago.

    From


    This Note argues that immunity grants from congressional committees, and
    the federal statute that allows committees to make the grants, are unconstitutional
    under separation of powers doctrine. The privilege against selfincrimination5
    requires the government to make a decision: it can either prosecute
    someone on criminal charges and allow him to remain silent, or it can grant
    immunity, compel him to testify, and give up the prosecution. In some circumstances,
    compelled testimony is a good choice—it can lead to the conviction of
    a “bigger fish” or allow Congress to gather information that will lead to
    beneficial legislation or better government oversight. In other cases, the compelled
    testimony would bring disappointing results and a criminal would nonetheless
    go free.
  • ||

    Seeing the news in the last few years has taught me, Never talk to the feds without a lawyer. They are not nice people, even if they do have children and are married to soccer moms.

  • Yearning to Breathe Free||

    That's why I asked about the 5th. I don't plan to EVER answer the government's questions.

  • LibertyGal||

    Never talk to the Feds - PERIOD. Always take the 5th.

  • ryback's cook||

    In 6-12 months, the Rocket will be a PE teacher in Dayton.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    It's a good thing Congress can't be indicted for making false statements to America, or we'd be hearing nothing but crickets from Capitol Hill.

  • -||

    Not that hearing crickets from Congress would be a bad thing.

  • Yearning to Breathe Free||

    You raise a fair point here. Why can the president AND COPS lie to people but citizens can't?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    If only we could put them under oath 24/7.

  • In Time Of War||

    Technically, the president, at least, is.
    We need a new branch of government that exists for no reason but to bring criminal charges against the other branches for lying.

  • Cyto||

    We have the SEC for this purpose for corporate executives. If any of them make an offhand comment about their business that runs afoul of SEC rules they can wind up in jail or out millions. Not to mention the stock price ambulance chasers looking to sue you if you say anything at all at a time that the stock price goes down.

  • Almanian||

    Yep, I keep saying - "If we just had one MORE branch of gov't, then it would all be better." Lulz...

  • ||

    Not only can the president and members of Congress lie to Congress with impunity, but if anyone calls them a liar that person will be sanctioned.

    That's a pretty sweet system, ain't it?

  • Confused Citizen||

    So the feds really have nothing better to do than try and lock Roger Clemens up for allegedly using steroids?

    Did the War on Drugs/Porn/Terror/"Scary Nouns" end?

  • ||

    Thursday TSA fun link:

    http://www.philly.com/inquirer.....?viewAll=y

    At what point does an airport search step over the line?

    How about when they start going through your checks, and the police call your husband, suspicious you were clearing out the bank account?

    That's the complaint leveled by Kathy Parker, a 43-year-old Elkton, Md., woman, who was flying out of Philadelphia International Airport on Aug. 8.

    She says she was heading to Charlotte, N.C., for work that Sunday night - she's a business support manager for a large bank - and was selected for a more in-depth search after she passed through the metal detectors at Gate B around 5:15 p.m.

    A female Transportation Security Administration officer wanded her and patted her down, she says. Then she was walked over to where other TSA officers were searching her bags.

    "Everything in my purse was out, including my wallet and my checkbook. I had two prescriptions in there. One was diet pills. This was embarrassing. A TSA officer said, 'Hey, I've always been curious about these. Do they work?'

    "I was just so taken aback, I said, 'Yeah.' "

    What happened next, she says, was more than embarrassing. It was infuriating.

    That same screener started emptying her wallet. "He was taking out the receipts and looking at them," she said.

    "I understand that TSA is tasked with strengthening national security but [it] surely does not need to know what I purchased at Kohl's or Wal-Mart," she wrote in her complaint, which she sent me last week.

    She says she asked what he was looking for and he replied, "Razor blades." She wondered, "Wouldn't that have shown up on the metal detector?"

    In a side pocket she had tucked a deposit slip and seven checks made out to her and her husband, worth about $8,000.

    Her thought: "Oh, my God, this is none of his business."

    Two Philadelphia police officers joined at least four TSA officers who had gathered around her. After conferring with the TSA screeners, one of the Philadelphia officers told her he was there because her checks were numbered sequentially, which she says they were not.

    "It's an indication you've embezzled these checks," she says the police officer told her. He also told her she appeared nervous. She hadn't before that moment, she says.

    She protested when the officer started to walk away with the checks. "That's my money," she remembers saying. The officer's reply? "It's not your money."
  • Yearning to Breathe Free||

    I'm having a little trouble breathing...

  • Sarah Palin||

    What, no Little Lupe videos?

  • Greer||

    Smoke is coming out of my ears here.

    They see something that COULD be indicative of a crime and the cop walks away with the money and tells her to fuck off, tell the DA?

    When did they decide that they own us?

  • johnl||

    This is just how people act in Philly.

  • ||

    The most important issue facing the nation today is jocks trying to gain an edge on the competition. It threatens the very fabric that holds the republic together.

    Or it's a big stinking pile of bovine excrement.

  • ryback's cook||

    it's a big stinking pile of bovine excrement.

    What is Congress, Alex?

  • Almanian||

    +200 and control of the board

  • Smooth_L||

    Is it just a coincidence that most of the juiced-up baseball players played for the Texas Rangers? I wish somebody would do a story on that.

  • Law Student||

    Name one besides A-Rod. However, many of them have played for the Yankees.

  • ||

    Rafael Palmeiro, Ivan Rodriguez, Jose Canseco...

  • Law Student||

    Still less than the Yankees. I mainly object to the term "most" which is laughable. The A's back in the day and Yankees in the 00's seems to be epicenters but I'm sure its plenty spread around the league.

    Disclaimer: Astros fan

  • ||

    I'm sure its plenty spread around the league.

    Not the Pirates, their blood is as clean as the driven snow.

  • disgusted fan||

    No KC Royals. Fuckers don't even care enough to cheat

  • ||

    Having been to a few Pirates games this year (only for the Primanti Bros sandwiches), I suspect they're taking sedatives and/or muscle relaxers, or possibly going bar-hopping before the game. Though I do appreciate them dutifully preventing my Cubbies from dropping into last place.

  • Ted S.||

    Clemens and Pettitte both played for the Astros.

    Didn't Ken Caminiti, too?

  • Smooth_L||

    Sorry, I guess I shouldn't have used the word "most". But what I find laughable is that George W. Bush personally employed a lot of these people that were valuable to him when they were hitting dingers and not so valuable when he had to prepare his State of the Union address.

  • ||

    I am not important so this will never happen. That being said if i was called before congress to testify i would refuse if i could but if i am forced by law i would flip a coin. Heads i would simply say i take the fifth on any question they ask, and tails i would make a list of curse words and phrases and direct them at congress every time they asked me a question.

  • cynical||

    Me, I'd spend a few days writing up page after page of invective to hurl at them. I think I would stay classy, though, if possible. The truth is ugly enough. I would definitely research into every allegation of wrongdoing or ethical lapse, and answer every question about my behavior with one about theirs.

  • creech||

    Yeah, the other night there were six cops standing around at the airport looking at the parking lot bus that had been rear-ended in the arrivals area. Meanwhile, every body and his brother was parking in the courtesy car pickup lanes and gridlocking the whole terminal. I guess these guys have never thought out a scenario where terrorist #1 bumps the back of a car and then terrorist #2 drives a van stuffed with explosives right up to the arrival doors while every cop in sight is tut tuting about the fender bender.

  • Geotpf||

    Reminds me of the time when both Bush and Kerry were in some podunk town in Iowa at the same time in 2004 and bank robbers robbed every bank in town because every law enforcement officer within a hundred miles was at one or the other candidate's events.

  • ||

    Sweet!

    I hadn't seen that before...

  • Tman||

    Only the Feds could turn the Rocket in to a sympathetic character.

    Christ.

  • Ragin Cajun||

    Don't worry, whatever they do to Clemens, that won't happen.

  • ||

    Truly. They could do anything this side of a full Louima and nobody other than Andy Pettitte would be too upset.

  • ||

    The NY Times has 100+ comments on this story. Many are outraged by the waste of resources over this nonsense (no way I'll wade through all of them) but this guy takes the cake.

    This is a very positive development. Professional athletes need to know there are consequences for their actions. The have ruined professional sports. All the stats are now in question.
  • Matt Welch||

    Meanwhile, from possibly the worst sports columnist in America....

  • Bill Plaschke||

    You forgot about me?

    http://www.firejoemorgan.com/search/label/bill plaschke

  • juris imprudent||

    Jeez Matt, I was expecting a link to another George Will paean to baseball. There just isn't much that is worse than that - certainly not a half-cent hack in the heart of stupor-burbia (that is "the OC").

  • Wind Rider||

    Wait a minute, I thought that the 9th Circuit ruled the other day that lying through one's teeth was Constitutionally protected Free Speech!

    He should told 'em he got a Purple Heart for a groin injury or somethin. That woulda covered his ass.

  • hmm ||

    Can you be found in contempt of Congress? If not I'm thinking the proper method of using the 5th would be simply, "Fuck you."

  • ||

    Yes, see above.

  • hmm||

    I know you can get hit with contempt for ignoring a subpoena, I was curious about disrespect. And I'm still not sure that they can jail you for contempt with respect to actions other than their ability to compel you to appear before them.

  • juris imprudent||

    You simply give it to them in Shakespearean terms. First, most of them wouldn't get it without a translator, and second they wouldn't be able to do a damn thing about it because it would be outside the scope of their rules on decorum.

  • Almanian||

    And - again - if they're doing this, they're not shooting my dogs, passing healthcare bills, passing cap and trade legislation, confirming a new empty suit for the Supreme Ct, so...

    counting my blessings a little bit.

    And wondering when we're going to see some more affletes in front of congress for a stern talking to? Well, Congress? It's for teh childrenz....

  • Ragin Cajun||

    Count 1: Obstruction of Congress? The man should receive a medal for that!

  • Chipotle||

    Go read Dee Snider's testimony as part of the PMRC ordeal. He held up a big, beautiful mirror to their assclownery.

  • ||

    Here is a Dee Snider interview about the incident, testimony on the right side of the screen.

    Needless to say, Al Gore got pwned.

  • hmm||

    Al's good at getting pwned. How he stumbled into his millions by suing people is beyond me. Dumb luck I guess.

  • ||

    hmmm, I think you are thinking of John Edwards, Gore never even had a law degree.

  • hmm||

    Opps ya. Gore got his money from dad selling oil and natural gas. That the government gave Occidental.

    My mind is going. I'm still enraged about Timmeh slighting my Fuck Me, Ray Bradbury post.

  • Pope Jimbo||

    Al's daddy was the senator from Tennessee.

    If it wasn't for that, Al would be sitting on a porch right now sipping corn liquor.

  • Greer||

    Do I get stoned and banished if I say that I used to think Tipper was sort of hot?

  • juris imprudent||

    I'd say you were stoned if you ever thought Tipper was hot.

    Fortunately poor taste is not likely to get you banished from these parts.

  • Mike M.||

    This whole thing is completely ridiculous, but I have to admit that I find Roger Clemens such a total douche that part of me is hoping he gets convicted.

  • Bill Plaschke||

    Try that again:

    FJM on Bill Plaschke

  • Hank||

    REdiculous. People who make a living lying indicting someone for lying. I also heard Clemmons said he served in Vietnam and that semen on that dress wasn't his because he was ragin' on roids at the time. In related news, screen actors' guild sues performance troup for pretending.

    Wtf, steroids saved baseball!

  • ||

    Well, Clemens volunteered to testify - in fact he requested that he speak before the committee - and he answered, freely, questions about taking steroids or HGH.

    If this was a trap, he set it for himself.

    Yes, this is silly but Clemens contributed to it.

  • Hank||

    Besides believing Congress has no business wasting time (well I'm not opposed to the time wasting, but the taxpayer funds) on this crap, that f-ing idiot apparently insisted on testifying.

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