After all that money, work and media coverage, the government was able to convict Barry Bonds for obstruction of justice.
It’s ironic that Bonds—whose keen batting eye and propensity to walk became as much a hallmark of his career as his home runs, attitude and polarizing personality—is essentially “walking” on the most serious charges against him for lying to a grand jury in the BALCO investigation.
What was the point of all this?
You can read about the verdict here—NY Times Story—but I ask again, was it worth it?
Will anyone think that the prosecution of Bonds will be a deterrent for some layperson who’s considering lying in front of a grand jury? And will it make a bit of difference in the scope of a case? If a prosecution wants to try someone for something, they’re going to do it—it’s not hard; and I understand the position that no one can be allowed to flout the system of justice with the arrogance and self-importance that Bonds and Roger Clemens have, but this was a colossal waste of time, energy and government resources for something that wasn’t going anywhere to begin with.
The government didn’t openly say they were either going to retry Bonds or let the case go, but if they choose to go forward with another trial, then the travesty becomes an exercise in egomania; the circus becomes a morality play of fantasy with no discernible endgame.
One has to wonder about the pragmatism of the combatants. Would the government have been better-served to offer Bonds an acceptable plea deal with a fine rather than go through all this for no gain? Would Bonds have been better off taking said plea deal? A plea of no-contest or something to that effect to spare the world of this absurdity?
While the government spent a ton of money to try (and pretty much failed) to “get” Bonds, Bonds too must have spent a large portion of his fortune to defend himself. According to Baseball-Reference.com (scroll to the bottom of the page), Bonds earned somewhere around $188 million as a player; this is independent of ancillary income from endorsements, memorabilia sales, appearances and other avenues to accumulate cash; but Bonds never received the Alex Rodriguez contracts in which he was guaranteed $300-400 million regardless of what he did for the rest of his life. Lavish lifestyles take a toll on one’s finances and I doubt Bonds was scrimping on his spending. Combined with his divorces and support for his children, you have to wonder how much money he’s going to have left after the lawyers are paid.
To exemplify the transitory nature of this whole morass, here’s a clipping from the Times article:
The jurors ultimately chose to convict Bonds on obstruction of justice because “he was entirely evasive” in his answers in the grand jury, the jury foreman, Fred Jacob, 56, said.
“He was often dodging the question,” Jacob said. “He would just talk about something else.”
You could say the same thing about Sarah Palin during a debate or interview when she verbally wanders off like an escaped mental patient and doesn’t answer the question that was asked nor does she stick to the subject upon which it was based.
Can we put her on trial and throw her into a halfway house as well?
It would certainly do a greater service to the country if former Governor Palin were tried and incarcerated as an enemy of the state (and intelligence; and sanity) than it did for Barry Bonds.
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