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WASHINGTON (AP) — Barry Bonds. Guilty on a technicality. At least that’s how much of the public sees it. It’s all that came out of a seven-year investigation into baseball’s home run king.
Lance Armstrong. Not even prosecuted. A two-year, multi-continent investigation brought to a close this year with no charges filed.
Now Roger Clemens. Acquitted on all counts. A five-year investigation ended with the top pitcher of his generation celebrating with family hugs inside the courtroom.
After three expensive failures, the government is done, it seems, with the business of pursuing high-profile cases of drugs-in-sports — with a track record not worth bragging about.
“It was a tremendous waste of federal resources,” said Stanley Brand, a long-time Washington defense attorney who was counsel to the House of Representatives from 1976 to 1983. “The juries that acquitted these people weren’t persuaded by any of this. That’s the man on the street.”
With the government striking out yet again, the policing of drugs in sports now falls to other entities. The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency filed formal accusations last week against Armstrong that could strip the cyclist of his seven Tour de France victories. Armstrong denies any doping.