Miguel Tejada appeared in court today and pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of making a misleading statement to Congressional investigators. Tejada acknowledged that he lied when he denied to investigators any knowledge of banned substances being used by other major league players. Prosecutors told the judge that they had "insufficient evidence" to prove that Tejada lied when he denied taking steroids or HGH.
Sentencing has been set for March 26, 2009. The maximum punishment for Tejada's transgression is one year in jail and a $1000 fine, but it is very doubtful that Tejada will get this punishment. Tejada has been released on his own recognizance, but he must report weekly, by telephone, to a federal probation officer, and he must undergo drug testing.
Tejada will be holding a press conference here in Houston later today.
There are a couple of items of interest here.
First, it sounds, by means of this plea, that Tejada is still denying that he took steroids or HGH. But he does admit to purchasing HGH. Will his admission of buying, but not taking the HGH serve as that apology and act of contrition for which Richard Justice so longs, or will he get the A-Rod treatment which is that he's still not telling the truth? I say the Chron goes into overdrive to make sure we all know that Tejada was just an innocent who must be forgiven.
Besides, Tejada is now locked into this story in that I'm sure an admission at a press conference that he actually took HGH/steroids will result in a maximum punishment for him, as well as a probably giving the Feds a good reason to revoke the plea agreement.
And though I don't deal with immigration law, several of my colleagues who do have informed me that Crimes of Moral Turpitude, which includes lying to Congress, can be rather a problem for immigrants. I'm pretty sure that Tejada's attorneys have it as part of the plea that Tejada's immigration status will not be affected, but the law, from what I've been told, does allow for the deportation of immigrants who commit such crimes, and it also allows immigration officers to forbid immigrants from entering the country.
I'm sure that Tejada's attorneys have an understanding with the Feds that Tejada's immigration status won't be affected, but it's still an interesting topic to think about. Still, we probably won't know anything further on this until his sentencing hearing on March 26. And it's going to be interesting to see just what it is Tejada admits to this afternoon.
UPDATE: Well damn, what do you know? Quoting from a letter sent by the Feds to Tejada and his attorneys regarding a possible plea agreement: "His guilty plea in this case may subject him to detention, deportation and other sanctions at the direction of the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement."
I don't think he's getting deported. But perhaps things are a bit more serious than I thought.
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.