Sunday, December 18, 2011


ESPN employs a few legal analysts whose job is ostensibly to explain complicated judge-y court-y crime-y stuff to viewers/readers. It's a practice that makes sense in theory, but is utterly worthless in reality if they're going to let lawyer/writers like Lester Munson run wild with editorial commentary that's full of total horseshit. That's what happened here. I have no idea who Munson's dog in this fight is; could be federal investigator Jeff Novitsky, could be someone on the prosecution team, or maybe he just hates the judge who oversaw the trial and sentencing. In any case, I don't have much time to break it down but if you want to read the whole thing, just know that it reads like something a government PR rep might write in the aftermath of an expensive and relatively fruitless investigation/prosecution.

Q: Isn't a sentence of 30 days of home confinement a sign that the agents and the prosecutors failed in their pursuit of Bonds?

A: No. His sentence is not the result of any failures by federal agents and prosecutors.


There is no doubt that Bonds used steroids, and there is no doubt that he lied to the grand jury about his use. The problem that led to the conviction on only one count and a deadlocked jury on three counts of perjury was not the quality of the work of the agents and prosecutors.

Some of the work they did was quality. Much of it was shitty. If you're looking for some light reading that might make you think that the investigation was perhaps I suppose not handled quite as professionally as it could have been I guess, try this.

The problem was the refusal of Bonds' personal trainer, Greg Anderson, to testify against him.

If you can't close a case against someone without a key adverse witness's testimony, and you fail to get that testimony, you have fucked the dog. You did not conduct a quality prosecution. This is like saying "We didn't lose to the other team, they just scored more points than us."

For reasons that are not yet known, Anderson went to jail twice instead of offering evidence against Bonds.

Here's a theory for you, Columbo: maybe Anderson's refusal to testify has something to do with money changing hands between him and Bonds (and the fact that the two of them are buddies, sure). Anderson didn't feel comfortable perjuring himself in front of the grand jury so he figured he'd just do his time for contempt of court instead. I'm sure he sleeps soundly at night, and I'm sure Bonds made sure he was taken care of financially during, between, and after his two stints in prison.

Anderson's refusal to testify prevented the prosecutors from connecting Bonds to positive drug tests and other compelling evidence of Bonds' use of steroids. If Anderson had testified, Bonds would have been convicted quickly on all four charges.

But don't follow Occam's Razor on this one, people Munson desperately wants to fool: this is absolutely not the fault of the investigators and prosecutors involved.

In the face of Anderson's conduct, the prosecutors -- who occasionally stumbled --


rallied brilliantly


at the conclusion of the Bonds trial and obtained the conviction for obstruction of justice

Which is just as good as a conviction for perjury, as long as you don't care about establishing that Bonds actually lied under oath.

and were one vote shy of a conviction for perjury.

Put that one on your resume, prosecutors involved.

This outcome, even with the light sentence, is a triumph for investigative agent Jeff Novitzky and prosecutors Jeff Nedrow and Matt Parrella.

Jesus Christ. This sounds like a North Korean newspaper reporting on its soccer team's performance in the 2010 World Cup.

The government will not be asking a higher court to change this outcome.

No fucking shit, you fucking spin artist. They already have the option to retry Bonds on the perjury charges the jury deadlocked on. Bonds hasn't been let off the hook for those yet, so there's no need for the government to appeal. Not that they'd be able to buttfuck their way to a conviction the second time around anyways (should they get the chance). If the outcome of the trial was "guilty on obstruction of justice, but not guilty on perjury," you can bet your sweet bippy they'd be appealing along with Bonds.

It is Bonds who will be filing the appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

The fact that he's appealing a relatively insignificant charge to avoid spending 30 days under house arrest because he has the money to do it is, again, not something over which the feds should be high-fiving each other. Read the rest if you want. It's fucking bizarre. And sad.

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