MLB, by paying Bosch’s legal fees and promising to help put in a good word for him with criminal prosecutors, is sending the wrong message about cleaning up their sport, Fischer said.
“So baseball is basically saying ‘Hey mom, dad, don’t worry about your kid, he helped us out with our ballplayers so give him a break,’ Is that what you guys are going to do? Pay this guy? Let him off the hook? You should be running for the hills from this guy,’’ Fischer said.
But David Weinstein, a former state and federal prosecutor now in private practice, said even MLB can’t shield someone from a criminal prosecution.
“They are not law enforcement officers,’’ Weinstein said. “On the other hand they can certainly agree to provide legal funds for him, and it’s sort of a back-handed way of paying for the records.’’
Weinstein said what Bosch is alleged to have done is illegal under both state and federal law because all drugs, unless they are sold over the counter, are controlled substances. Steroids can be legally prescribed only by a licensed doctor and only for a legitimate medical reason — not for performance enhancement.
If the players knew they were obtaining controlled substances illegally, without a prescription or for reasons that were not medically necessary, they could be witnesses or subjects of the criminal probe, Weinstein said.
It’s unlikely, however, that Rodriguez — or other players — would be criminally prosecuted, even if they knew they were illegally buying steroids. The targets of the probe would be those who operated the clinic, he said.
MLB alleges that besides using performance-enhancing drugs, Rodriguez tried to undermine their probe by destroying evidence, an accusation he has denied.
Weinstein said federal investigations take time to develop and in this case, it could include a variety of avenues, including money laundering, medical fraud and malpractice.
Miami Herald staff writer Jay Weaver contributed to this report.