Ken Starr invoked two Boston sports scandals during President Trump’s impeachment trial

Trump's lawyer referred to the Patriots' Deflategate episode, as well as the Red Sox' recent sign-stealing troubles.

There’s always a Tom Brady connection.

On Monday, during closing arguments from House impeachment managers and President Donald Trump’s lawyers as formal proceedings in the president’s impeachment trial wind down, Trump counsel Ken Starr made an appeal to senators as to the fairness of the proceedings.

“Authenticity,” Starr began, after referencing Martin Luther King Jr. and Irving Berlin, writer of the song “God Bless America,” nearly two hours into four hours of oral arguments. “And at the foundation of those authentic forms of justice is fundamental fairness, is playing by the rules. It’s why we don’t allow deflated footballs, or stealing signs from the field.

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“Rules are rules. They’re to be followed.”

“Deflated footballs” is a reference to the 2014 Deflategate scandal in which Brady was eventually suspended four games and the New England Patriots were fined and docked a draft pick. “Stealing signs from the field” could refer to the recent scandals that cost the Houston Astros and Boston Red Sox managers their jobs, and which in the case of the Red Sox is still being investigated by MLB.

Republican and Democratic leaders in both chambers of Congress have argued back and forth for weeks on the process for President Trump’s impeachment proceedings, with questions about fairness coming from both sides, as well as the president himself.

“I submit that a key question to be asked as you begin your deliberations: ‘Were the rules here faithfully followed?'” Starr continued. “If not, if that is your judgment, then with all due respect the prosecutors should not be rewarded — just as federal prosecutors are not rewarded. You didn’t follow the rules. You should have.”

Trump has a fair bit of history with Brady and other members of the Patriots organization, including head coach Bill Belichick and team owner Robert Kraft, who have supported the president during key moments in his political life. Senators will vote Wednesday on whether to acquit or convict President Trump on two articles of impeachment.