Feb 18, 2011, 9:41 AM EDT
I won’t make too much out of this because when I read a couple of weeks ago that Roger Clemens had subpoenaed Congress in order to get notes and reports and whatever he could find, I didn’t think anything of it. But the Daily News makes a good point today: you can’t subpoena stuff from Congress that isn’t already a public record due to the immunity provided by the Speech and Debate clause to the Constitution.
And even if lazy ex-lawyers like me didn’t think about it at the time, Clemens’ lawyer Rusty Hardin should have because he’s been down this road before:
This is not Hardin’s first attempt to subpoena documents from a congressional committee. Hardin represented the giant auditing firm Arthur Andersen in 2002 when the company was indicted on obstruction of justice charges for shredding Enron-related documents.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing on Andersen, which had signed off on Enron’s fraudulent finances for years. When Hardin tried to get documents from the Energy and Commerce Committee, as well as notes of an interview conducted with an Andersen employee who later became a cooperating witness for the Justice Department, he was denied. The committee refused to hand them over, and the federal judge presiding over the case refused to compel the panel to do so.
I suppose ineffective belt-and-suspenders subpoenas are harmless in and of themselves, but at some point I wonder if Clemens will ask himself how much money he’s willing to pay to avoid what will probably be three months in a minimum security federal camp. At the most. I’m sure his legal bill is into the millions already and I’ve seen criminal lawyers budget a full 50% for the actual trial and aftermath. At some point, you figure the vacation would do him some good, no?
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