Here's what Craig Calcaterra wrote -- but didn't publish -- before we got the news that Roger Clemens will be indicted today:
- After a nineteen month investigation, an announcement is expected soon -- possibly as early as today -- that a federal grand jury is poised to indict Roger Clemens for lying under oath to Congress when he denied taking performance-enhancing drugs. The specific charges are not yet known, but they likely involve, at the very least, multiple counts of perjury.
And now, after months of collecting evidence, the grand jury is poised to issue an indictment. In lay terms: a formal accusation that a crime was committed. As I have wrote previously and will continue to note as the case proceeds towards trial, an accusation does not necessarily make a conviction likely, especially in a perjury case, especially in this perjury case. Many of Clemens' statements are exceedingly difficult to square with known facts and common sense. At the same time, many of the witnesses against Clemens already face credibility issues, Brian McNamee chief among them. Even if you believe, as I am inclined to, that Clemens was not truthful during his Congressional testimony, convicting him of perjury will be no easy feat.
But that is what trials are for and a trial in this case, if one ever occurs, will not take place for a very, very long time. In the meantime, Roger Clemens has a date with federal agents, a finger print ink pad and a mug shot photographer. Because he is about to be criminally charged.
Yes, Congress has more important things to worry about.
But no, you shouldn't lie to Congress.
Roger Clemens probably never should have been asked (or ordered) to testify before Congress. Every day, Congress wastes thousands of man-hours grandstanding and sticking its collective nose into small issues while ducking the big ones (and man, are there some big ones).
But when you stand up in one of those hearing rooms and raise your hand and swear to tell the truth and then you don't ... Well, there really must be some serious consequences. I don't want to see Roger Clemens behind bars. If he got up there and told a bunch of lies, though ...