Baseball's Watergate? MLB Allegedly Purchased Stolen Documents to Hinder PED Investigation
The latest development in the Major League Baseball war on performance enhancing drugs is right out of the famous Richard Nixon Watergate case. MLB allegedly purchased clinic documents they knew were stolen from the Biogenesis founder Tony Bosch and hindered the Florida investigation against the clinic and its use of illegal drugs. They were only able to fine Bosch $5,000, which was reduced to $3,000, due to limited investigation.
A state official said the limited scope of the investigation and its conclusion were direct results of MLB officials purchasing documents related to the since shuttered clinic at the center of a performance-enhancing drug scandal involving Alex Rodriguez, Ryan Braun and at least a dozen other players.
The source said MLB knew the documents had been intended for Florida investigators and that the purchase of them hindered the state investigation by preventing the department from gathering additional evidence against Bosch, doctors and others affiliated with the clinic. Further, MLB officials never told health department officials they had obtained the records, the source said.
"They can't say they weren't warned," the official said.
Rodriguez is the game's highest paid player and the only one aggressively fighting the charges against him. MLB suspended him for 211 games. Both sides are doing everything they can to prove their case, which makes one wonder what is in those documents.
MLB brushes this off by claiming their investigation was more important than the Florida investigation, insisting it was more for regulation than anything criminal. They also insist the stolen documents did not hurt the Florida investigation and without them or Bosch's cooperation they could not build a case against their players. They also claim they did not know the documents were stolen.
Sources told "Outside the Lines" that MLB obtained the documents at two different times through the work of Dan Mullin, who leads MLB's Department of Investigations. He gave $100,000 in cash to Gary Jones, a 54-year-old South Floridian with a criminal past, in March in exchange for four computer flash drives containing documents. Jones was a friend of Biogenesis whistle-blower and former employee Porter Fischer, who originally took the documents from the South Florida clinic.
A second set of documents -- the batch slated to go to the Florida health department -- was stolen from Fischer's car March 24. On April 16, Jones pocketed another $25,000 for those files. It's unclear how he came in possession of them.
According to an affidavit Jones signed at the bequest of Rodriguez's legal team in September, Jones acknowledged obtaining documents stolen from Fischer's car and later selling them to MLB. Boca Raton police have since reopened their investigation into the theft, and sources said Jones is of particular interest after having denied in an April 18 police interview that he had any knowledge of the break-in or had even spoken with a representative of MLB, though baseball officials have said by that date they had already met with Jones twice and paid him.
However, the source said MLB was under the assumption Jones and Fischer were working together. The official said the break-in was staged because Fischer could not sell, transfer or destroy the documents. But Fischer said this is not possible because the two are not friends and he felt betrayed by Jones.
"Let me ask, then, why would I have turned down their offer for $125,000 five days before [the car break-in]?" Fischer said. "I turned them down at every stage. So they want to say I gave this to [Jones]? And that is why I immediately called the cops? ... That is why I've been jumping up and down to the feds and the state government? That I knew the [guy] stole from my car? Really. That is baseball's theory? Go for it, dude. Prosecute me. And let's find every single accessory that was involved. I need to know. This is bulls---."
Mike Axisa, the baseball writer at CBS Sports, brings up an excellent point.
Also, it's pretty rich that MLB is now being accussed [sic] of interfering with an official investigation after accusing Rodriguez of interfering with their investigation.