Bring Me the Head of Barry Bonds

March 22, 2011 Barry Bonds

Headhunting, in ancient cultures, was the taking of an enemy’s head after killing them. It was a matter of prestige. The more things change, the more they stay the same. Today it has a new twist as the popular sport of a certain type of prosecutor. Monday the absurd drama of the Barry Bonds trial began. Yes they made a federal case out of it. “This is the final act, and Bonds is the big trophy” said Peter Keane, professor Golden Gate Univ Law School. The taxidermist is sizing up Barry’s very large head.

I don’t know whether Bonds is guilty of using steroids or not; albeit the evidence certainly seems to suggest it. But so what? This, or more specifically refusing to admit it, is a federal crime? Who was damaged? Bonds certainly. Perhaps baseball fans, maybe Babe Ruth, some pissed off pitchers, but hardly Mark McGuire.

My former client Joe Francis called this practice “prosecutors gone wild.” They have an insatiable appetite for celebrities. It is steroids for their resumes. Putting crack dealers in prison doesn’t make headlines and thus doesn’t advance careers. So they go after the biggest names not the biggest crimes. Take Martha Stewart as a good example. She was convicted of lying about stock sales that were not crimes. We taxpayers spent millions prosecuting her. Did Martha’s time in prison makes us any safer? Who ended up winning? Not us. Not the judicial system. Only the prosecutor. Based on the publicity, she comfortably segued from the U.S. Attorney’s Office to a Wall Street law firm partnership guaranteeing years of multi-million dollar salaries.

And the cost of the Bonds fiasco? Estimates range between $10 to 50 million for an intense investigation lasting over seven years. The approximate cost of building a new school and stocking it with teachers. But don’t worry, some prosecutors will enhance their resumes.

And who is the star witness against Bonds? Kimberly Bell, a model who had an affair with Bonds. (Another serious offense in the eyes of puritanical prosecutors.) And her critical testimony? She claimed steroids diminished Barry’s sexual performance and shriveled his testicles. Now I see why we can’t prosecute terrorists in civilian courts, we are too busy with Barry’s wrinkled balls. Who ever thought such testimony would grace the august halls of our federal courts.

And the lovely Kimberly? Barry supported her for years. Proof again that loyalty is a forgotten value . . . and one other detail, she got a Playboy spread out of it. I guess her fifteen minutes aren’t up yet.

The prosecutors already bagged some big names: Tammy Thomas, a cyclist; Roger Clemens, awaiting trial; Marion Jones; and they are in hot pursuit of Lance Armstrong. The testicular cancer didn’t get him but our big spenders in the U.S. Attorney’s Office will. They are specialists when it comes to the testes.

By the way, the singular of testes is testis, Latin for witness. In ancient times, a man would hold his scrotum while testifying as proof he was telling the truth. No wonder they didn’t believe Barry when he testified to the grand jury.