…. Slippery slope?

The Grimsley story keeps getting more interesting. In this NY Daily News article, Grimsley’s lawyer says that the pitcher did not name any names:

…. Novak denied that Grimsley had named other players, saying the pitcher had simply discussed the names of players raised by the agents interviewing him.

“There is a lot in the affidavit that my client would dispute,” Novak told the Republic. “He has admitted his past steroid use. The substance of that part of the affidavit is accurate.” IRS and U.S. Attorney spokespersons declined comment.

It appears that the whole “Grimsley named names” aspect of this is bullshit, and that what really happened was the feds named names and Grimsley said he knew them or he didn’t. A huge part of the government’s strategy in this whole sordid affair has been the use of carefully leaked details, going all the way back to Bonds’ Giambi’s grand jury testimony. When they have leaked bits and pieces, the news media has been quick to fill in the blanks, which only adds fuel to the fire. That sure seems to be what happened with this story.

Here’s another example, Murray Chass and Jack Curry of the NY Times that the US Government is close to indicting Bonds on perjury and possible money laundering charges:

…. Because federal investigators asked Bell to avoid Mitchell, it is a strong indication that they are actively pursuing perjury charges and possibly additional charges of financial malfeasance against Bonds…

I’m not so sure of that. If they have such a strong case, why bother pressuring Grimsley to wear a wire to get Bonds to incriminate himself? And why is it taking so long? I’d say the government is having a pretty tough time getting themselves ready for a possible perjury charge, partly because it’s such a hard case to prove, and partly because they know that they have so little right now. I think that’s why Kimberly Bell is still in the spotlight, because money laundering, or tax evasion charges would be much easier to prove, and would put Bonds in a situation where he might have to cop a plea that would allow the government to look like the nailed him for everything.

Also in that Chass and Curry piece is a quick little interview with a legal beagle that bears highlighting:

…. Jeffrey A. Fagan, a professor of law and public health at Columbia University’s law school, said getting Grimsley to wear a wire would have been “for symbolic value.” Fagan theorized that federal authorities were trying to make “a deal with Grimsley to get the higher-value target.” Still, Fagan wondered about the wisdom of focusing so heavily on Bonds.

“One could be critical they’re spending scarce resources and scarce time going after someone of symbolic value rather than strategic value,” Fagan said. “You could go after someone bigger who is involved in distribution.”

But, Fagan added, authorities could view Bonds, who is second on the career home run list with 716, as being valuable in preventing others from using illegal substances. “In theory, a minor leaguer coming up is more likely to be deterred by a criminal investigation of Barry Bonds than a criminal investigation of Jason Grimsley,” Fagan said. “Perhaps the government sees Bonds as a deterrent.

You betcha.

As always, check out Baseball Musings when you’re not here, as David has been right on top of this story from minute one.

UPDATE: In light of the Jason Grimsley bust and the subsequent shockwaves caused therein, the Armchair GM is calling for Bud Selig’s resignation:

…. Selig once said: “Nobody worries more about the image of the sport than I do. I’m proud of our players.”

If that’s true, Mr. Selig, save the image of the sport, and step down for someone who will do more than simply “worry.”

UPDATE, PART II: I’m sorry, I guess I didn’t explain why I tended to doubt the government’s leaked details. It’s because I don’t believe what anyone working in or for our government says, pretty much ever. I don’t believe that prosecutors and DA’s and IRS agents and FBI guys and all of them, really, ever stop themselves from doing or saying anything they possibly can, up to and including lying, illegally leaking sealed testimony, witholding evidence,bribes, etc., etc., etcetera, to win whatever argument, case, law, deal or thingamajig they’re currently dealing with. Consequently, I don’t believe Novitzky, or any of the guys doing everything they can to save me and the children from Barry Bond and steroids.

UPDATE, PART III Here’s a on the possible reasons for the feds to want to shut Kimberly Bell’s cakehole:

…. Attorney Martin Garbus said Friday that agents asked Kimberly Bell not to assist former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell in the independent investigation he is heading. “I would say they want to protect their own prosecution,” Garbus said. “The consequence is, yes, they are impeding the Mitchell investigation.”

The FBI declined to comment Friday and Mitchell did not immediately return calls for comment.

Garbus said Mitchell wrote him May 31 and demanded “that Ms. Bell cooperate with my independent investigation of alleged steroid and performance-enhancing drug use in major league baseball.” Bonds would be entitled to learn whatever the former girlfriend tells Mitchell, Garbus said. If that information conflicts with what she told federal authorities, Bonds could use it to undermine her credibility in court. “She might say something that the feds would rather her not,” Garbus said.

As opposed to Murray and Curry’s assumption that the feds want to keep her quiet because they are about to indict Bonds, it appears that the possibility exists that the feds know Bell’s testimony is as thin as tissue paper, that she’s an idiot, and that they have, oh, something like a snowball’s chance in hell of getting her to stand up in front of people who read books without having her contradict herself about what shoes she’s wearing today. For instance.

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