Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Waiting on Immunity

The jostling between the baseball players subpoenaed to testify and the House Government Reform Committee over whether they will appear is coming to a head. Jason Giambi, Frank Thomas, and Rafael Palmeiro have asked the Committee to withdraw the subpoenas, and they would most likely assert the Fifth Amendment if there is not a grant of immunity. Jose Conseco continues to ask for immunity so that he can speak freely at the hearing, despite having written a book about the use of steroids in baseball, including his own use. The Justice Department usually is reticent about granting immunity blindly, i.e. without a proffer or some other indication about the scope of the witness' testimony, so it would not be a surprise if the players did not receive any protection. The question then becomes whether the Committee will still demand that they appear and assert their Fifth Amendment privilege, something done to witnesses in the investigations of various corporate collapses. A story on ESPN.com (here) discusses the question about whether the players will testify. (ph)


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