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Is A-Rod being investigated for obstruction of justice? What about Major League Baseball?

Apr 8, 2014, 9:02 AM EDT

Alex Rodriguez

This from the Daily News over the weekend is interesting. There’s a grand jury convened in Florida arising out of the whole Biogenesis thing. And it may bring A-Rod back into the headlines:

The grand jury is primarily interested in determining the source of the drugs Biogenesis founder Anthony Bosch supplied to Rodriguez and other players, one of the sources told The News. But other law-enforcement officials are trying to determine if Rodriguez, currently serving a season-long suspension for violating MLB’s drug policy, attempted to obstruct investigations into the defunct Coral Gables anti-aging clinic.

I find this a little rich. A-Rod may or may not have tried to obstruct MLB investigators — the evidence on that was rather thin, as the small portion of his suspension related to obstruction showed — but last I checked Major League Baseball is not law enforcement. I know they act like it all the time, what with the Mitchell Report and the Biogenesis thing, but they really are just a private business with revenues somewhere between the largest law firms and mid-sized regional supermarket chains.

Also, last I checked, it was Major League Baseball, not Alex Rodriguez, who paid off the very man who distributed the drugs that are subject to this grand jury investigation and purchased stolen documents in the course of its own investigation. Who provided him with counsel in the event anyone comes investigating him and indemnified him from any bad things that may come his way as a result. I don’t know if that’s obstruction of justice, but it’s way closer to the kind of things that get charged as such than the stuff A-Rod is said to have done.

So, sure, investigate Alex Rodriguez. But explain why Major League Baseball shouldn’t be investigated too.

  1. renaado - Apr 8, 2014 at 9:10 AM

    Stop hogging all the attention A-rod.. Give it a rest already.

  2. Jason @ IIATMS - Apr 8, 2014 at 9:19 AM

    Anti-trust actually means “do not trust”

    • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Apr 8, 2014 at 9:57 AM

      Thus baseball is exempt from suspicion? That explains a lot.

  3. tysonpunchinguterus - Apr 8, 2014 at 9:22 AM

    Perhaps the goverment’s reasoning is that when MLB acquired evidence, they did not do so with the intention of hiding it and/or destroying it. When A-Rod bought/tried to buy evidence, it was done to prevent anyone from finding out what he had done. Perhaps MLB gave (or has promised to give) the evidence they collected to the government while a certain “victim” has not. After all, only one of the parties involved has a vested interest in the information never seeing the light of day. If one side is cooperating with the government and the other isn’t, then it’s pretty obvious why only one of them is facing a possible investigation here. I don’t think that’s hard to figure out.

    • renaado - Apr 8, 2014 at 9:29 AM

      Well said, Truly perception at it’s finest !

    • nomoreliesfortoday - Apr 8, 2014 at 9:30 AM

      Stop. The intention is irrelevant in an obstruction case.

      • chip56 - Apr 8, 2014 at 9:35 AM

        No it’s not. Paying Bosch to testify on their behalf doesn’t impede a federal investigation. Buying documents to destroy does.

      • tysonpunchinguterus - Apr 8, 2014 at 10:01 AM

        How has MLB obstructed anything? They gave the goverment everything they had. So not only did they NOT intend to obstruct anything, they willingly handed over the documents so the government could continue to investigate. There’s a huge difference between what MLB did and someone hiding or destroying evidence.

      • apcig - Apr 8, 2014 at 11:20 AM

        @chip56 – wouldn’t more blame fall on the seller?

    • chip56 - Apr 8, 2014 at 9:34 AM

      In fact, the article opens with the point that MLB has turned over testing records that the grand jury has requested.

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Apr 8, 2014 at 10:09 AM

        “Requested” with a subpoena.

        And MLB’s testing documents, which were the subject of the subpoena, are not the same as the Biogenesis evidence MLB bought from Bosch’s little weasel.

      • nomoreliesfortoday - Apr 8, 2014 at 10:23 AM

        If MLB bough documents from Bosch that the Feds were also seeking in connection with their investigation, even if to just use “first” and then hand over, its still obstruction.

    • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Apr 8, 2014 at 10:04 AM

      Nobody knows what ARod would have done with evidence, and you can’t convict him by guessing about it. We are not in Minority Report yet.

      If there is/was a criminal investigation about the whole thing, they should launch an inquiry into the pace of that. I don’t think MLB was exactly clandestine in their collection of evidence. If law enforcement was content to sit back and wait for the private corporate investigation to play out before asserting its authority over the matter, there are bigger problems afoot than ARod

      • tysonpunchinguterus - Apr 8, 2014 at 10:24 AM

        MLB reportedly had evidence that A-Rod DID purchase documents related to the clinic. If that is true and he has not given them to the goverment, then he is obstructing their investigation. MLB would obviously share that information with the government when they turned over the documents they had and that would lead to the goverment investigating to see if it is true. There may be nothing more to it than one of their sources telling them that they know A-Rod already paid for some other records, but the goverment would still have to look into that claim and see if it is true.

        Even if his offer to buy the documents was turned down, he still attempted to purchase evidence that incriminated himself in a crime. That is a crime in and of itself. There is no mind-reading required. But if you really believe that he (or anyone else in that situation) would buy evidence linking him to a crime so he could hand it over to the government, I have a great deal on some bridges you might want to consider.

      • clemente2 - Apr 8, 2014 at 2:40 PM

        Not a crime in and of itself unless he knows the documents are the subject of a government search.

      • tysonpunchinguterus - Apr 8, 2014 at 3:11 PM

        He tried to buy the documents after the story leaked. You don’t think he considered the possibility that at least 1 law enforcement agency might be interested in knowing about illegal drug activity?

    • dparker713 - Apr 8, 2014 at 5:26 PM

      MLB might as well have destroyed them. They ruined the credibility and admissibility of the documents through purchasing them.

      • brewfangrb - Apr 12, 2014 at 2:51 AM

        There you go. THAT’S the obstruction by MLB. Their INTENT in acquiring the documents is irrelevant. If the subpoenaed documents are the same that MLB purchased, MLB has now turned them over to the government and the government now wants to use those documents, my attorney would be going to war over their admissability noting there is NO WAY to know whether those documents have been altered or if they represent the entirety of the documents previously held by Biogenesis.

    • anxovies - Apr 8, 2014 at 11:52 PM

      MLB would not dare to rat out ARod to the feds without being subpoenaed. If they did that the union and players would go crazy. Its one thing to investigate and suspend a player for PEDS, but if that begins to lead to criminal prosecutions of the players the drug testing program goes out the window. MLB knows this and is going to keep a low profile whatever happens.

    • allsport1980 - Apr 9, 2014 at 2:40 PM

      IF MLB was actually cooperating with a federal investigation then they wouldn’t have made a deal with Bosch and would have turned over all evidence obtained to the Federal Govt. The fact is MLB does has a vested interest in keeping this information from the Fed since it was Bud Selig that was dragged in front of Congress and not any other Commissioner’s in any other sport. MLB has very dirty hands in all of this and the author brings up a good point.

  4. nymets4ever - Apr 8, 2014 at 9:30 AM

    Glad he’s not the Mets’ problem!

    • chip56 - Apr 8, 2014 at 9:34 AM

      Mets have enough problems.

      • Old Gator - Apr 8, 2014 at 11:31 AM

        Their self-proclaimed biggest fan chief amongst them.

  5. chip56 - Apr 8, 2014 at 9:33 AM

    A reading of the rest of the article points out that the reason law enforcement is looking into whether or not Alex is guilty of obstructing the federal investigation is because MLB was so vehement in claiming that he obstructed theirs. To me it sounds like a simple matter of due diligence.

    • peymax1693 - Apr 8, 2014 at 4:27 PM

      And, as Craig points out, MLB’s “vehemence” was basically bluster to make A-Rod look bad. If it really was as substantial as MLB wanted us to believe, the arbitrator would have slammed him.

      • chip56 - Apr 9, 2014 at 9:16 AM

        That’s fine too – as I said, this to me just sounds like due diligence.

        Consider it another way. You live in an apartment, your neighbor hears sounds of a person being beaten up and calls the police, they come to investigate a possible assault and find out that you just had the TV on real loud. This is the same thing, the authorities are investigating a possible case of obstruction based on the report of a third party and may well find that there’s nothing there – but it is their job to investigate it anyway.

  6. raym64 - Apr 8, 2014 at 9:38 AM

    Actually, the governments reasoning is probably closer to publicity. A-Rod is a big name that a lot of people don’t like. They can get their publicity with a big name, without much backlash since A-Rod is already so vilified (more than I think he deserves). MLB on the other hand, would be a much tougher nut to crack

    All too often when a big name goes down, it becomes dog pile on the rabbit.

    • tysonpunchinguterus - Apr 8, 2014 at 10:08 AM

      I think Bud Selig would be a big name, too. The difference is that he didn’t actually obstruct anything while there is at least a possibility that A-Rod did. If there’s evidence that he did, then they’ll prosecute. If not, then he’ll have nothing to worry about.

      Jason Giambi would have been a big name for the government to go after back when the BALCO story broke. The difference between Giambi and Bonds? Giambi told the truth when he testified and Bonds played dumb and expected everyone to believe that he was the one guy involved with BALCO who had no idea what they were giving him. Clemens would have been fine after the Mitchell Report had he not decided to request a Congressional hearing about it. So, yes, these guys are all big names. However, their big egos and the belief that they are above the rules caused their legal troubles. Shifting the blame to the government for not allowing them to break the law is to ignore that every one of these guys is responsible for his own behavior and that behavior is what gave the government a reason to go after them in the first place.

  7. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Apr 8, 2014 at 10:12 AM

    I thought this was the money quote: “…arbitrator Fredric Horowitz…wrote in his decision that Rodriguez had tried to obstruct MLB’s investigation by pressuring Bosch to sign a statement that claimed he had never supplied banned drugs to the Yankees’ disgraced superstar.”

    Yet, MLB launching a bogus lawsuit against Bosch for the sole purpose of creating leverage against him and gaining access to records was not considered to be “pressuring Bosch”?

    • labfan30 - Apr 8, 2014 at 10:35 AM

      Good lord people, really? ARod was trying to destroy evidence. MLB was trying to get evidence to use against ARod, not destroy anything. If I threaten someone with a lawsuit to stop saying bad things about my favorite team, you can flip me off and tell me to jump off a cliff.

      I know it’s deeper than that, I understand the pressure Bosch was under and the financial implications. I get it.

      On the other side, this is where Craig takes out a shotgun and pulls the trigger at his own foot. There is a clear cut difference between ARod and the MLB in an obstruction case. Nothing they did is illegal. A 6th grader could understand the difference between the two parties in this investigation. The MLB wanted information. In order to get it, they threatened a lawsuit (not illegal), cut a deal with the person they wanted to get the information from (not illegal) and then handed the information over to the feds. (not illegal)

      Dirty, underhanded? Depends on who you talk to. (I think it was and I think they went out of bounds, but that’s just my opinion) But illegal? Seriously Craig, STOP. You have made a great point in this crusade against MLB. If someone is truly reading the things you write, they will see the ethical conflicts and the long term impact of what happened even if they disagree with you.

      When you go to this extreme, you are taking a serious risk of destroying your own credibility. This is just stupid.

      For the person above who said the MLB had to be ordered to give the records, that’s simple procedure in any company. No company will ever simply hand over records of their employees without a court order. Were they to do so, the employee (in this case the union) could file lawsuits on them. If the MLB were truly obstructing the federal investigation, they would have attempted to challenge the court order. They didn’t. They aren’t obstructing.

      AROD, on the other hand, clearly was. Love the MLB, hate the MLB, love ARod, hate ARod, this is not a complicated twist in this case to figure out.

      • tysonpunchinguterus - Apr 8, 2014 at 10:53 AM

        For the person above who said the MLB had to be ordered to give the records, that’s simple procedure in any company. No company will ever simply hand over records of their employees without a court order. Were they to do so, the employee (in this case the union) could file lawsuits on them. If the MLB were truly obstructing the federal investigation, they would have attempted to challenge the court order. They didn’t. They aren’t obstructing.

        You’re spot on with this. I work for a financial company. If law enforcement walks in the door and asks for any information about a customer, our policy it to refer them to our legal and corporate security departments. Those departments do not turn over anything without a subpoena no matter what. It’s called covering your ass. What if they hand over the documents to the wrong person? What if the person requesting the documents isn’t who he says he is? There could be any number of issues that we aren’t aware of that could make turning over information without a subpoena a gigantic risk. This case is no different.

      • dluxxx - Apr 8, 2014 at 1:17 PM

        The issue is this:

        MLB should never have had the documents in the first place. If they swept in and took the documents while an investigation was going on, then they *were* obstructing justice.

        obstruct: verb 1. block (an opening, path, road, etc.); be or get in the way of.

        If an investigation is going on and MLB gets in the way of the investigation by getting evidence in said case before the government investigators, then they are obstructing or getting in the way of the investigation. They add an extra step in the process. Now after having to subpoena the people being investigated, they also need to subpoena MLB to get the evidence that they were not able to initially get from the *source* of the investigation.

        *That* my friend, is obstruction…

      • righthandofjustice - Apr 8, 2014 at 4:52 PM

        tyson, MLB must turn in the test results upon request, or else the Feds can initiate their own testing like in BALCO.

        The Congress can do what they did 10 years ago. It is not up to MLB and MLBPA to stop them. It is law.

      • dparker713 - Apr 8, 2014 at 5:36 PM

        MLB purchased stolen goods. That’s a crime in every state in the Union. Plus there’s witness intimidation and I’m sure other crimes large and small.

      • tysonpunchinguterus - Apr 9, 2014 at 8:54 AM

        righthandofjustice, I was talking about MLB turning over the Biogenesis documents, not the results of drug tests. In either case, though, they would need to be sure they were giving the documentation to the proper people. In the case of the Biogenesis documents, a court order telling them to hand them over and who to give them to would be needed to ensure that they don’t give them to someone who shouldn’t have them so MLB could avoid any potential legal liability caused by the government not being able to get the evidence due to a screw-up.

      • righthandofjustice - Apr 9, 2014 at 12:33 PM

        Tyson, you are totally wrong. Investigation of the Biogenesis case was also the charter of the Florida’s State Department of Health, until the grand jury invited federal prosecutors to join in. Check out the government’s regulatory procedures.

        And, MLBPA has completely nothing to do in this issue. MLB bought the documents without MLBPA’s knowledge, with stacks of $100 notes in a brown paper bag, secretly from a convict who addressed himself as just “Bobby” without a last name, without checking his background, after being warned by the government not to get the documents, and his own investigator blew the whistle and reported the first bargain to the police.

        MLBPA didn’t steal or buy the documents. The don’t have the documents. It is none of their business to stop the government. Besides, neither MLB or MLBPA has any remote reason or rights to obtain anybody’s secret personal information. That includes a lot of Biogenesis patients not related to baseball. This is a CRIME already.

      • brewfangrb - Apr 12, 2014 at 2:57 AM

        “MLB was trying to get evidence to use against ARod, not destroy anything.”

        How do you know? And how do you know MLB didn’t alter those records? You’re on record acknowledging MLB behaved in an underhanded, dirty and out of bounds manner. It’s clear MLB would do nearly anything including smudging the line, without clearly leaping over it, to secure their goal: Take down A-Rod. It’s not unreasonable, in the least, to consider whether what MLB gave the government is EXACTLY the same as what they acquired from Bosch. If it’s NOT exactly the same, that’s obstruction. Obstruction does not require intent of a particular goal–only that the action is obstructing the investigation. And there is absolutely no way to know whether what MLB gave the government IS exactly the same as what it acquired.

    • tysonpunchinguterus - Apr 8, 2014 at 10:46 AM

      A-Rod was trying to get Bosch to lie under oath. MLB was trying to use the legal system to acquire evidence. Trying to pay someone to commit perjury is much worse. Also, MLB’s lawsuit has nothing to do with obstructing justice. It is totally irrelevant to any possible investigation into what A-Rod is alleged to have done.

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Apr 8, 2014 at 1:18 PM

        You assume Bosch told the truth. That is a big assumption. MLB likely paid Bosch to say what MLB wanted him to say.

        There is a lot of ugliness to go around in this case. Going after only one guy is weak sauce.

      • dluxxx - Apr 8, 2014 at 1:19 PM

        Who says that MLB didn’t pay Bosch to lie under oath? Bosch said what MLB wanted him to say. Just because we all assume that A Rod is the worst and a total cheat and fraud, who says that everything that Bosch said under oath was the truth?

      • tysonpunchinguterus - Apr 8, 2014 at 1:45 PM

        There’s evidence that supports what Bosch said in his testimony. To suggest that Bosch lied when he said he gave A-Rod PEDs is to suggest that the documents in question are fake. There is no plausible reason for Bosch to write out fake lists of athletes with money owed/paid and the names of the drugs he provided and then admit to crimes he didn’t actually commit knowing that his testimony could land him in prison for things he didn’t do. It is incredibly more likely that Bosch gave A-Rod the drugs he says he did. We know the documents exist and we know what they say. That doesn’t leave much room to suggest that the testimony backed up by those documents was false.

      • dparker713 - Apr 8, 2014 at 5:39 PM

        Trying to induce someone to lie at a private arbitration hearing is not the same thing as trying to get someone to lie in a court of law.

      • anxovies - Apr 8, 2014 at 11:56 PM

        It brings up the old lawyer’s question: Were you lying then or are you lying now?

      • tysonpunchinguterus - Apr 9, 2014 at 8:58 AM

        dparker713, you can be charged with perjury for lying in an arbitration hearing. It is no different than lying in court testimony.

        Here’s an article about a PA state tropper who found that out the hard way:

        http://pafop38.com/2008/03/28/laurence-fisher-charged-with-perjury-for-lying-at-arbitration-hearing/

      • brewfangrb - Apr 12, 2014 at 3:02 AM

        What? MLB paid for documents from a person they made absolutely no effort to verify was a person who had legal possession of the documents or the right to sell them. That’s using the legal system to acquire evidence?

  8. Earnest Christian - Apr 8, 2014 at 10:51 AM

    Reblogged this on Earnest Christian presents The OpinioNation | Sports and Pop Culture.

  9. chill1184 - Apr 8, 2014 at 10:58 AM

    I have a real hard time finding a good guy in this story.

    • dluxxx - Apr 8, 2014 at 1:19 PM

      Exactly. There isn’t one.

  10. stevem7 - Apr 8, 2014 at 11:28 AM

    Boy isn’t this the truth? MLB and BUD SELIG knowingly hindered a state investigation by their actions. There is nothing dirtier than MLB in this entire fiasco. The entire organization known as the Commissioner’s Office should be disbanned and the people all thrown in jail for a long long time.

  11. sportsfan18 - Apr 8, 2014 at 11:33 AM

    Everyone keeps getting it wrong…

    It’s not Biogenesis…

    It’s Budgenesis…

  12. scoutsaysweitersisabust - Apr 8, 2014 at 12:34 PM

    Why? Because why stop the villainization and hypocrisy now?

  13. njcowboyz - Apr 8, 2014 at 12:45 PM

    All of this over something in the NY Daily News? Thats a rag and they haven’t been right about much as it pertains to Biogenesis. They just have a grudge against arod.

  14. mikhelb - Apr 8, 2014 at 2:05 PM

    And I thought the “illegal acquisition” of information by MLB was because they paid persons to threaten people who worked in biogenesis and paying for documents MLB knew were acquired in a burglary after Fischer told them he was not going to give them the documents and was going to give them to Florida’s Department of Health which was investigation the illegal distribution of drugs by Anthony Bosch in Biogenesis, impeding and obstructing that investigation.

    Alex Rodríguez tried to buy documents? thats obstruction;
    MLB actually bought documents? thats obstruction;

    Alex Rodríguez was *planning* to destroy evidence? that is speculation and nobody can be prosecuted by a mere speculation, is there evidence he destroyed documents? otherwise is a dead end.

    Facts are:
    MLB contacted Fischer and offered $125,000 and a job in MLB in exchange for the documents they (MLB) were seeking;

    Fischer declined the $125,000 dlls and a job offer by MLB because the Florida Department of Health was also looking to acquire said documents for their investigation of one or more illicits (illegal distribution of drugs, no license by Bosch, etc);

    Less than a week days after Fischer declined MLB’s offer and planned to give up the documentation to the Deparmentof Health, Fischer’s car was burglarized and the documentation in paper and in digital form was stolen;

    Fischer told the police his car was burglarized, the investigation began and everybody, including people from MLB knew about that;

    One month later MLB was contacted by somebody they didn’t know who he was and asked them money for the documents MLB knew were stolen;

    MLB paid $100,000 for the digital documentation and days later $25,000 more for the physical documents;

    The police department received information and MLB told them they didn’t know who the guy was, nor his complete name and that they just handed $125,000 dollars for documentation they knew was stolen a month before;

    The police department in december arrested a man connected to the burglary (a workmate of the guy who received $125,000 by MLB and both worked in the tanning saloon where the car was burglarized).

  15. hbegley6672 - Apr 8, 2014 at 3:55 PM

    MLB wasn’t buying records of illegal activity to destroy them. Rodriguez’s intention surely wasn’t to preserve them. There is a major difference. You can not like MLB’s actions because they are “not law enforcement”, all you want. Doesn’t make their actions criminal. If Rodriguez’s actions were attempts to conceal or destroy evidence of illegal activity, it’s obstruction. Period

    • righthandofjustice - Apr 8, 2014 at 4:44 PM

      ROFL! If the government don’t think MLB has been doing something fishy, why will they ask for the PED test results of the players, that is, not just A-Rod’s test results but the PLAYERS.

      The test results of the players have nothing to do with Biogenesis. It is crystal clear who the government are targetting.

    • brewfangrb - Apr 12, 2014 at 3:07 AM

      Bzzt, wrong. It doesn’t matter WHY MLB was buying the records. Doing so denied the government the ability to acquire them. In addition, at the time they acquired them, they were stolen. Receiving stolen property is a crime, even if you have ZERO idea they were stolen or couldn’t have had any idea they were stolen. (However, MLB pretty clearly did know they were stolen, based on the timeline outlined above).

      I’m NOT arguing A-Rod did nothing. He may be guilty of obstruction. But I am arguing that MLB isn’t innocent of obstruction just because A-Rod is guilty. It’s not zero-sum. They BOTH could have committed obstruction.

  16. righthandofjustice - Apr 8, 2014 at 4:19 PM

    First, this is just another “news” from the Daily Farce. As usual, they never give the names of the sources and details.

    Second, the “lawyer” who is not working for A-Rod, and one who “knows” about government is about to ask the MLB for testing results… who can that be? The most logical guess is a lawyer who is employed by the MLB.

    Third, the “evidence” that A-Rod obstructed the government’s Biogenesis investigation is not just “thin”. It is non-existence, or at least, up to this point, never released or even remotely talked about by anybody at all.

    Fourth, the evidence that Bud Selig, Rob Manfred, Dan Mullin, MLB, et al obstructed the Biogenesis investigation is more than substantial. In fact, Rob Manfred admitted it and even replied to it in a very stupid way – if the government obtained the documents, they would have impeded the MLB investigation.

    Fifth, A-Rod and other players’ testing results don’t have anything to do with the obstruction of any Fed, State, and City investigation. If the government asked for it, guess who do they think are defaulting the U.S. like they have 10 years ago?

    I am sure there should be, and definitely will be, serious government investigations on the Biogenesis case from all angles, but A-Rod is not likely to be the main target. He will be a witness of the prosecution though.

    As I mentioned many times, those who think the government will turn a blind eye on any kind of MLB violations are beyond delusional. The government reacts slowly as usual, but I think they are far from willfully blind.

  17. joestemme - Apr 8, 2014 at 9:41 PM

    F#$K A-Roid

  18. righthandofjustice - Apr 9, 2014 at 12:46 PM

    Nobody has yet to tell us how the test results of the players are related to A-Rod’s obstruction of government investigations?

    The test results can establish the motive that MLB masterminded a document theft to derail government investigations and let PED and drug sellers other than Bosch off the hock though.

    This is going to be interesting. Let’s all support and hope Uncle Sam remove the stain on the REAL baseball Americans used to love!

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