Great Moments in Omertà

Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! on the damn nigh unfathomable loyalty of one Greg Anderson:

No matter what you think of Bonds, Anderson or anyone purposefully thwarting the nation’s rule of law, the level of loyalty here is something to behold. Judge Illston said last week that she can’t find a precedent “where someone was imprisoned for a year during grand jury proceedings and then called to trial and jailed again.”

Every other identified steroid dealer in baseball – Kirk Radomski, Brian McNamee, etc. – quickly made deals with prosecutors, trading information for leniency.

Anderson, on the other hand, has served time not as punishment for something he did, but for something he wouldn’t do, in this case talk. Most folks try to avoid a punishment they deserve. Anderson had already done the time for his crime and double jeopardy laws protect him from further prosecution.

He’s volunteered his freedom to protect Bonds.

Contrary to an impression you may get from time to time, I do not think that Barry Bonds is a martyr and I do not think that Greg Anderson is a hero. Or vice versa. One can’t help but be impressed, however, — in the most judgment-free fashion — with Bonds’ discipline and Anderson’s resolve. We haven’t seen them on 60 Minutes and, with the exception of some third hand accounts, we haven’t heard much in terms of stress and strife from Bonds’ camp. Roger Clemens decided not to go gentle into that goodnight. Bonds and his people have certainly chosen a different tack. As a lawyer who occasionally represents strong-willed clients, I offer my compliments to Bonds and his legal team.

Of course the elephant in the room is this:

Bonds, who made nearly $200 million in salary playing baseball, could agree to take care of Anderson and his family for his loyalty. It’s what the Corleones did for Frank Pentangeli when he played dumb at that congressional hearing.

Doing so is legal. While perceived hush money for a convicted felon might hurt Bonds in the court of public opinion, that’s not the concern anymore.

Well, sorta. If Anderson and Bonds have never spoken about any of this and later, after the trial is over and Bonds is out of legal jeopardy, Bonds gratuitously decided to set Anderson up for life, sure, there’s nothing wrong with that. The key inquiry, however, — and one which I’m sure someone has been assigned to at least passively monitor in the U.S. Attorneys’ Office — is whether anything of value was promised or provided Anderson before now, because that would certainly not be legal. That would be obstruction of justice and bribery of a potential witnesses and all manner of other nasty stuff.

Did it happen? Lots of people have an opinion on this, but that’s all it is. The truth is we’d probably never know even if it had. Because no matter what else you can say about Bonds and Anderson, you certainly have to say that they are about as cool a couple of customers as you’re ever likely to see.

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  1. Dwight Shih said...

    Doesn’t Anderson believe that the Feds did not abide by the terms of his previous plea bargain? I think there was confiscated money that was supposed to be released to him, but it was several years before he got it.

    Once it has been demonstrated that the side offering the deal is going to cheat you, then that next deal doesn’t look so good.

  2. Pete Toms said...

    @ Dwight.  Yes there is speculation that Anderson’s refusal to testify is motivated by his hatred of the feds.  IIRC he thinks they screwed him on this (how’s that for legalize?).  He cooperated on the Balco investigation and did some time with the understanding that they would leave him alone subsequently.  Rightly or wrongly that hasn’t transpired.

    Bonds seems to have been a jerk to everybody close to him, wife, mistress, kids, teammates, media…but I too am impressed by Anderson’s loyalty….if the feds investigate Scuart will he be this loyal?

  3. ChrisPurvis said...

    Interesting take; I too have been very impressed by Anderson’s loyalty, and think that it hasn’t got any press.  Very interesting that Judge Illston hasn’t seen this level of loyalty before.

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