I’ve been beating this horse for some time now, but I link to Dave Zirn’s takedown of the Bonds prosecution because (a) it’s good; and (b) no one likes to feel alone:
Novitzky was given the green light by President Bush and Ashcroft to go for the jugular. In 2004, accompanied by eleven agents, he marched into Comprehensive Drug Testing, the nation’s largest sports-drug testing company. Armed with a warrant to see the confidential drug tests of ten baseball players, he walked out with 4,000 supposedly sealed medical files, including every baseball player in the major leagues. As Jon Pessah wrote in ESPN magazine, “Three federal judges reviewed the raid. One asked, incredulously, if the Fourth Amendment had been repealed. Another, Susan Illston, who has presided over the BALCO trials, called Novitzky’s actions a ‘callous disregard’ for constitutional rights. All three instructed him to return the records. Instead, Novitzky kept the evidence….”
It was a frightening abuse of power, all aimed at imprisoning a prominent African-American athlete. Yet despite the landfills of trash, the government’s case always rested on a flimsy premise. Bonds’s contention under oath was that anything illegal he may have ingested was without prior knowledge. The only person who could contradict Bonds was his trainer and longtime friend Greg Anderson. The government pressed Anderson to give testimony. He refused, citing a promise made by the feds that he wouldn’t have to testify after pleading guilty to steroid distribution and money laundering in 2005. The feds stuck him in jail for thirteen months to soften him up, but he didn’t crack.
My only quibble with the article? Zirin goes with an Old Man and the Sea analogy. I prefer Moby Dick.
In any event, I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Anderson’s testimony was the prosecution’s only hope. They’ve known that for years, and they’ve known that he won’t provide it for almost as long. In its absence, this case should have been dropped a long time ago.
(link via BTF)