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A grand jury has Porter Fischer’s documents and is ramping up its inquiry into Biogenesis

Aug 22, 2013, 2:59 PM EDT

bosch headshot Getty Images

If you’re Alex Rodriguez you probably have to be smiling a bit about this report from Mike Fish of ESPN:

After months of negotiations and legal wrangling with the whistle-blower in the Biogenesis clinic scandal, Major League Baseball still hasn’t pried loose documents he took from the clinic. But within the past week, Porter Fischer, the clinic’s former marketing director, appeared before a federal grand jury in Miami and turned over the records, sources told “Outside the Lines.” … The grand jury appearance by Fischer and his turning over of documents is a clear sign that the scandal has gone beyond Major League Baseball’s intensive in-house probe and evolved into a federal law enforcement investigation that could potentially lead to criminal charges against individuals tied to the clinic and its distribution network, including Tony Bosch, the shuttered clinic’s founder who is cooperating in baseball’s investigation.

To sum up: Baseball doesn’t have the documents, but the government does. You know what’s really, really hard? Trying to get documents from the government that are part of a criminal investigation so that you can use them for your personal business purposes.  Which is what baseball would have to do if it were to use Fischer’s documents in an arbitration against A-Rod.

So, why not just go to Tony Bosch, you ask? Well, according to this report he could very well face criminal indictment here.  Know what else is really hard? Getting someone who is under a criminal indictment to go on the record in a civil arbitration admitting to all of the drug stuff he did. Which is something else baseball would have to do if it were to go hard after A-Rod in the arbitration.

None of which is to say that baseball’s case is dead. There are reportedly other witnesses, cell phone records and things already in their possession.  But given how significant Bosch and Fisher are supposed to be, and given how there is a non-trivial risk that they could be put out of reach as evidence sources going forward, one has to wonder if anyone at MLB is nervous here.

  1. churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Aug 22, 2013 at 3:11 PM

    Since this thread is bound to be filled with intelligent, rational discourse like all the other Arod/PED threads, can I just ask when the hell did we get tags and thank dog we finally did?

    • Craig Calcaterra - Aug 22, 2013 at 3:33 PM

      Just came today. Snark being planned accordingly.

    • pjmarn6 - Aug 23, 2013 at 5:48 AM

      King CACA sounds like a rooster believing that his crowing brought the sun up. What an asshole. He sounds like he is glad that Rodriguez may get a break. Assholes have one thing in common, they both get diarrhea. King CACA gets diarrhea of the mouth.

  2. Francisco (FC) - Aug 22, 2013 at 3:13 PM

    I keep imagining A-Rod like Kathleen Turner from Serial Mom: “Your Honor, the Prosecution has proven NOTHING!!!!”

  3. drewsylvania - Aug 22, 2013 at 3:16 PM

    Really glad that once again the feds have stepped in to spend millions on an investigation that means precisely dick.

    • El Bravo - Aug 22, 2013 at 3:46 PM

      Speak for yourself bro, my dick is pretty meaninful in my life.

    • raysfan1 - Aug 22, 2013 at 8:33 PM

      The Feds going after drug dealers is precisely what they should be doing

  4. myhawks1976 - Aug 22, 2013 at 3:40 PM

    as someone who has differed with you on most all of the PED issues Craig, let me say I can’t agree with you more on this one.

    this hurts MLBs case big time. there may be other witnesses, but I’m willing to bet most of it is tied directly to Bosch and that without his direct testimony, this will lessen the impact.

    If nothing else, Arod appears to have attempted to be careful with some of these things and so my guess is he probably did most of his dealings with Bosch directly.

    before the asinine comments calling Mr an idiot for calling the Fraud careful, if you read the story on the Victor Conte meetings, he went through another (Romanowski) to set up the meeying and showed up right before clisung. he also waited in the car until Romo went in to make sure employees were gone for the day.

    So the guy obviously was attempting to he discreet.

    bad news for baseball. good for ARod.

    • ilovegspot - Aug 22, 2013 at 5:07 PM

      Clairvoyance speculation.

  5. peymax1693 - Aug 22, 2013 at 3:41 PM

    Sounds like that mountain of evidence MLB had against A-Rod which I kept reading about in multiple reports
    the past month or so might turn out to be more of a mole hill.

    • bigharold - Aug 22, 2013 at 4:12 PM

      Bill Madden begs to differ.

  6. Old Gator - Aug 22, 2013 at 3:46 PM

    A lot of terms get overused and badly used – “terrorist,” “awesome,” “communist,” “liberal,” “knuckledragger” – you enunciate it.

    But this is a true clusterfuck.

    • El Bravo - Aug 22, 2013 at 3:50 PM

      My favorite part of all of this is that Fischer is dragging the douchenozzle Bosch through the coals simply b/c Bosch didn’t pay him back a couple thousand dollar loan. This whole thing began b/c Bosch couldn’t be bothered with a few thousand bucks owed to an acquaintance. If ARod and/or Braun knew that, I assume they would have paid Fischer directly in the six-figure range just to STFU!! It’s laughable how flimsy this scheme was and how many ballplayers actually thought they could get away with taking PEDs from Bosch’s clinic.

      • cur68 - Aug 22, 2013 at 5:41 PM

        Why they hooked up with Bosch is beyond me. The man’s whole life is one huge field of red flags. Staying the hell away from him and his damn “clinic” seems a no-brainer.

      • El Bravo - Aug 22, 2013 at 5:48 PM

        It’s the white lab coat with hand-stitching….get’s em every time…

  7. paperlions - Aug 22, 2013 at 3:56 PM

    “a federal law enforcement investigation that could potentially lead to criminal charges against individuals tied to the clinic and its distribution network, ”

    Couldn’t that affect many or all of the other witnesses they have as well?

  8. hairpie - Aug 22, 2013 at 3:58 PM

    Is that a Barry Williams mug shot?

  9. ezthinking - Aug 22, 2013 at 4:09 PM

    It still boggles the mind that star athletes are completely incapable of buying drugs like the rest of the world.

    Pay in cash, use intermediaries. No personal phone calls, no receipts, no records.

    It’s on TV every day for the last 40 years and in the movies for just as long for Christ’s sake. Jesus probably had John get his weed for him.

  10. mornelithe - Aug 22, 2013 at 4:24 PM

    Depends though, doesn’t it? Couldn’t MLB file for release of the documents under the Freedom of Information Act? It is a Federal Agency that has the records, after all. And unless it’s subject to exemption, the Government would have to release it all to the public.

    • gostlcards5 - Aug 23, 2013 at 1:53 PM

      My guess would be that, yes, MLB could file, but the government does not have to grant access to the records for anyone, especially if said records are linked to a current investigation.

      • mornelithe - Aug 23, 2013 at 4:56 PM

        Looks like it could be argued under 2 of the exemptions listed under the FIA.

        “6. A personnel, medical, or similar file the release of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy”

        Though, I’m not entirely sure this one would qualify since it’s not really invasion of privacy when the guilty have already been publicly named. It could be argued though.

        This one though, I believe is where you’re correct:

        “7. Compiled for law enforcement purposes, the release of which

        could reasonably be expected to interfere with law enforcement proceedings,

        would deprive a person of a right to a fair trial or an impartial adjudication,

        could reasonably be expected to constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy,

        could reasonably be expected to disclose the identity of a confidential source,

        would disclose techniques, procedures, or guidelines for investigations or prosecutions, or

        could reasonably be expected to endanger an individual’s life or physical safety;”

        But, I’m not sure how disclosure of the documents would interfere with the proceedings. MLB’s case is against the players, not Biogenesis. It would be interesting to see how this would be argued, and what the outcome would be.

  11. bigharold - Aug 22, 2013 at 4:24 PM

    In the short run this might well be a benefit for A-Rod. Long term, .. it might work against him. If he gets subpoenaed he might well have to admit to stuff that MLB can’t prove. Lying to the Feds under oath is a lot more risky then telling a few lies to MLB and Selig.

    It would be ironic though of the criminal investigation screwed up MLB case. Which comes back to Selig should he kept his mouth shut, .. keep things above board, stayed within the JDA and handed A-Rod his 50 game suspension and been done with this by now. Instead he turned it into a low grade melodrama and made MLB look inept, vindictive and just plain silly.

    MLB, .. snatching defeat from the jaws of victory for 4 decades!

    • jwbiii - Aug 22, 2013 at 4:46 PM

      Wouldn’t Rodriguez be the last player the DA would subpoena? The others, by the acceptance of their suspensions, have made at least tacit guilty pleas, or at nolo contenderes.

    • peymax1693 - Aug 22, 2013 at 4:54 PM

      Well, there is a little something in the Constitution called the 5th Amendment that A-Rod could utilize to avoid testifying.

      • ilovegspot - Aug 22, 2013 at 5:12 PM

        he could also be held in contempt like Greg Anderson in the Bonds case.
        Bigharold started off well but fizzled at the end again. tough on the little woman.

      • bigharold - Aug 22, 2013 at 6:04 PM

        The 5th Amendment only helps A-Rod if he’s the target of the Feds. The Feds could grant him immunity in which case he can’t plead the 5th. He’d then be in the position of having to answer any possible question truthfully or risk a purgery charge. That’s basically what happened to Bonds.

      • Kevin S. - Aug 22, 2013 at 6:19 PM

        The grand jury testimony is supposed to be sealed. Yes, we know it leaks, but there’s no way in hell baseball will be able to get leaked (and therefore unsubstantiated) grand jury testimony admitted before an arbitrator.

      • mornelithe - Aug 23, 2013 at 5:21 PM

        @Kevin – It remains to be seen if this information would fall under the exemptions of the Freedom of Information Act, since the Government would have to prove that releasing documents specifically regarding A-Rod, would interfere with the Government’s investigation, which is targeting Biogenesis.

        I’d definitely be interested in hearing the arguments there.

  12. weaselpuppy - Aug 22, 2013 at 4:25 PM

    It’s always this way with lowlife jackholes. No matter how careful you are, something happens because of your own personal karma or the fact you are dealing with criminals and douchbags creates a nexus of Murhy-able actions over time. Some dude will drop a dime on you because you looked at his sister the wrong way, or some guy you owe money will get desperate or irrational, or you’ll leave a Walt Whitman book sitting in your bathroom for your brother in law to read while dropping the kids off at the pool….

    • nategearhart - Aug 22, 2013 at 5:04 PM

      http://apocalypsereview.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/nathan-fillion-reaction-gif.gif?w=599

      • cur68 - Aug 22, 2013 at 5:43 PM

        precisely

  13. weaselpuppy - Aug 22, 2013 at 4:27 PM

    Edit Function- Murphy

  14. ilovegspot - Aug 22, 2013 at 5:18 PM

    Arod could wind up with a federal indictment as well in this. I would be great to see arod subpenaed and having to testify under oath with the Feds. More lawyer money from arods pockets and more stress. Far from over that’s for sure. It will be great when the real evidence comes out.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Aug 22, 2013 at 8:36 PM

      [grand jury room]
      DA – Mr. Rodriguez, did you buy so called “PEDs” from Mr. Bosch?
      Arod – Yes
      DA – ok, thank you. You’re dismissed.

      That’s where we are right now in the investigation, the grand jury stage. Even if Arod is called to testify, which isn’t what the Feds are charging Bosch et al with (they are after them for supplying drugs to minors), he’ll get a fine and probation, maybe, for what he’s done. MLB isn’t going to gain anything from this trial because what MLB is charging Arod with is irrelevant to the Feds’ case.

  15. Carl Hancock - Aug 22, 2013 at 9:42 PM

    I dunno about putting a smile on ARod’s face but I smiled when I could tell immediately who wrote the article based purely on the content. This need to play devils advocate for PED users and PED investigation shtick is getting old Craig. Because that’s what it is. Your shtick. A good reporter or writer doesn’t need such a crutch.

  16. Carl Hancock - Aug 22, 2013 at 9:50 PM

    Something else to consider. If this does turn into a criminal investigation, people forget ARod supposedly also brought athletes into the Biogenesis fold. Who’s to say he won’t face criminal charges himself for his involvement. Because his involvement was supposedly much more extensive than the other athletes. Which is why his suspension was also much harsher and why a lifetime ban was considered. He wasn’t being considered for a lifetime ban simply for the PED use.
    But some people don’t seem to be able to understand that. It’s beyond that.

  17. anxovies - Aug 22, 2013 at 10:22 PM

    Quite so, Craig. MLB is running into the same problem that the government has had for years when it got into bed with thieves and murders to make a case against a Big Fish. The government gets away with it because, well…, it’s the government, but MLB is in the entertainment business. The ARod affair has revealed a combination of arrogance and naivete in the front office. If they had shown Rodriguez the instruments and offered an auto de fey of 50 games like everyone else he would have probably accepted. Now, they may find themselves unable to establish their case.

  18. sawxalicious - Aug 23, 2013 at 1:33 AM

    Freedom of Information rules typically prohibit release of any pertinent information while a criminal investigation is ongoing. It would be likely a FOIA would be filed by MLB (and members of the press) but it is most likely next to nothing would be released and that which was released would be worthless information and/ or heavily redacted. Last I checked MLB was a private business and not a law enforcement agency, so this could make things real interesting.

    • mornelithe - Aug 23, 2013 at 4:59 PM

      Yeah, I was looking at the exemptions and saw that, but I’m not sure how disclosure of the evidence MLB needs in the appeals process with A-Rod, would interfere with the Governments investigation of Biogenesis. You know? I’m sure the lawyers could come up with something, but would it be enough to deny the release under FOIA? Not sure, but as you said, it’d be really interesting.

  19. righthandofjustice - Aug 23, 2013 at 1:32 PM

    There goes another rumor from the “anonymous sources” that MLB has “mountain of evidence” from Porter Fischer.

    It is actually a very good thing for the government to have full control of the investigation. They have all the resources and can legally summon any witness and document including all the bad apples who are spreading defamatory rumors and making corrupted sport decisions to obstruct real world justice. Since the public eyes are watching the government won’t spread rumors, disturb civilians who are totally unrelated to the investigations, and let biased public opinions to sidetrack fair judgements.

  20. theskinsman - Aug 23, 2013 at 6:58 PM

    Arod and the Yankees truly deserve each other. It’s not like he’s in the first dozen or so yanks who have done PED. I’m hoping that the team has to pay him every penny they owe him for the full length of his contract.

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