Roger Clemens has been found not guilty on all counts of lying to Congress about using steroids. The jury in Washington, D.C. handed down its verdict Monday afternoon after hearing 33 days of testimony. And I say, good for him.
Now, I am not saying Clemens did not use steroids. What I’m saying is that this trial never should have happened in the first place.
This all began when baseball finally decided to investigate steroid use in the game. It hired former senator George Mitchell to head up the probe. So a private organization hired a hired a private citizen to conduct an investigation. No problem there — it probably happens every day.
The problems started when Mitchell showed up to question some people (Kirk Radomski, Brian McNamee) armed with federal agents, saying they would be arrested if they didn’t talk to him. Now, why were federal agents involved in a private investigation?
There was no reason for the federal government to get involved in this investigation, but it did. Then after the report came out and Clemens denied the accusations, the government had to take steps to ensure the validity of the investigation since it intruded on it in the first place. Hence the Congressional hearing.
Once Clemens allegedly lied at that hearing, he had to be tried. Lying to Congress is a serious matter. But it should never have come to that.
Here’s what should have happened — Mitchell does his private investigation, Clemens and McNamee go back and forth in the media, and that’s it. Maybe one of them files a defamation lawsuit, but a Congressional hearing? A criminal trial? No way.
I’m glad Clemens was found not guilty because now perhaps Congress will think twice about sticking its nose where it doesn’t belong.
So now Clemens has been found not guilty and will begin his quest to clear his name with a dubious public.