Note: I'll be on the Jerry Doyle radio show at 5.30pm ET talking about this. Go here for more info.
The good news for once-great baseball pitcher Roger Clemens, who faces a second federal trial for allegedly lying to Congress in 2008 about using banned substances during his playing days?
Nobody on the jury apparently knows what a jerk he was when he was one of the greatest pitchers in the game. (Even more jerk facts here; and here's stuff about whether he jail-baited country singer Mindy McCready when she was just 15.)
Or that he played for the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees, the Leopold and Loeb of sporting franchises.
From a CBS News account:
The seven-time Cy Young Award winner returned to court Monday for the government's second attempt to prove that he misled a House committee at a landmark drugs-and-sports hearing in 2008. The first trial last July ended in a mistrial when prosecutors introduced inadmissible evidence after only two witnesses had been called….
The trial is supposed to take six to eight weeks. Maybe this time the feds will get all the way through the proceedings before pulling a hamstring in the on-deck circle.
Never forget that in the year 2008, Congress paused from its real work of destroying the American economy and all that is good and decent in this world to ask the age-old question, "Mr. Clemens, do you recall bleeding through your pants in 2001?"
From a Wash Post account of the new trial, some details about the first, failed attempt to bring "The Rocket" down to Earth:
Prosecutors suggested to potential jurors that the hearings were material to Congress's concerns that children might be influenced by the conduct of professional athletes.
The pitcher's defense team will probably argue that they weren't. Clemens's first trial was halted quickly because of a prosecutor's error, but it lasted long enough for Clemens's lawyers to start sketching out a "What was Congress thinking?" defense.
"What legitimate investigative purpose is served by asking a private citizen if they ever used a controlled substance?" Clemens's lead lawyer, Rusty Hardin, asked former House parliamentarian Charles W. Johnson, who had been called as a witness on the legislature's ways during his first trial last year.
This time around, the job of discrediting Congress may have gotten easier. The gridlocked, divided body has slipped to historic lows in popularity: The latest Washington Post/ABC News poll showed only 13 percent of Americans approved of its job performance.
It's worth pointing out that Clemens, arrogant chump that he is, may have insisted on testifying before Congress, even after being advised not to (precisely because lying before Congress, which Clemens pretty obviously did, is a crime).
I don't think it's a good idea to lie to Congress, even if Congress has no reason or right to be talking to you in the first place. But in a world of scarce resources, the trial of Roger Clemens is a true waste of time and money.
Matt Welch and I trash-talked the 2008 hearings as they happened. Read about in the Wash Post.