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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Lie To Congress, Get Probation: Wrist-Slap for Former Athletic Tejada Makes Bonds Prosecution/Persecution Look That Much Sillier

Posted By on Thu, Mar 26, 2009 at 1:15 PM

Funneling vast sums of money from the government into the hands of miserable bastards has, in effect become federal policy. So has wasting vast sums of money in futile legal pursuit of miserable bastards -- and folks are starting to get mad.

After expending somewhere in the ballpark of $60 million in a steroidal witch hunt that has resulted in a handful of laughably minor sentences against a smattering of obscure athletes, the government essentially took its ball and went home earlier this month in its ongoing prosecution of Barry Bonds. Whether that trial ever gets back on track -- and we're betting it won't -- the notion of pouring vast amounts of cash into nailing Bonds is looking more and more hypocritical.

Today's light sentence handed to confessed steroid cheater Miguel Tejada is hard to square with the legal bean ball Bonds endured. In short, Tejada -- a likable former Oakland Athletic whose bulky physique and gaudy statistics were a clear red flag to anyone who hasn't uttered the phrase 'Aw, shucks' since childhood -- was placed on a year's probation, fined $5,000, and sentenced to 100 hours of community service for lying to congressional investigators.

Surely some scold will bring up how Tejada's crime of lying to investigators doesn't measure up to Bonds' alleged transgression of perjury -- but, in truth, one could argue that Tejada's is the graver offense. The Houston Astros' shortstop out-and-out lied about whether he'd ever discussed drugs with teammates, let alone used them. Bonds, meanwhile, obfuscated about "knowingly" taking steroids. What's more, it turns out the prosecutors knew all along that, at the time Bonds was testifying about taking "The Clear," the substance was not classified as illegal or a steroid by the government. This means Bonds and others who claimed they never knowingly took illegal drugs or steroids regarding "The Clear" were, technically, telling the truth. So, the government's perjury case would have been a longshot along the lines of Duane Kuiper swinging for the fences -- and, to cap it off, Bonds' teammates offered remarkably similar grand jury testimony to the slugger's. None of them has ever faced any legal scrutiny.

Here's hoping the government follows the same advice in pursuing its misbegotten case against Bonds that a doubtless future millionaire gave as his senior quote in my high school yearbook: "Put it off, put it off -- blow it off."

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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