How serious is perjury? Is it bad to leak something to the press, and then to lie under oath about having done so?
Depends on who you’re dicking over.
According to a recent ESPN.com article:
An attorney who admitted leaking the confidential grand jury testimony of Barry Bonds and other athletes to a reporter was sentenced Thursday to two and a half years in prison, by far the harshest penalty to result from the government’s sprawling probe of steroids in sports.
Troy Ellerman, 44, pleaded guilty in February to allowing a San Francisco Chronicle reporter to view transcripts of testimony by Bonds, Jason Giambi, Gary Sheffield and other athletes embroiled in the steroids investigation. Giambi admitted taking steroids while Sheffield and Bonds testified if they did take performance enhancing drugs, they did so unwittingly.
Recently President Bush intervened after Scooter Libby was sentenced to two years in jail for leaking info to the press, then lying about it under oath. Bush claims that he overruled the jury because he felt it was an unusually harsh punishment. Given his beliefs, the question now becomes: Will President Bush commute Ellerman’s jail sentence as well?
At first glance Ellerman’s crime seems remarkably similar to Scooter Libby’s; both leaked confidential government information to the press. But there is a major difference between the two men that makes it unlikely that Bush will interfere. Libby was the fall-guy for Bush’s buddies Karl Rove and Tricky Dick Cheney, whose idea it was to go public with CIA secrets in the first place. Libby had to be pardoned because he didn’t rat out Rove and Cheney. To quote R.E.M.’s song, ‘Bad Day’:
“It’s a hallowed, hollow, anesthetized, ‘save my own ass, screw these guys,’ smoke and mirror lock down.”