And who was the Pontifex Maximus? Julius Caesar.
The story was a sensation in Rome. The sacrilege led to the trial of Clodius, with none other than Cicero himself as prosecutor. Cicero couldn't stand Clodius, and so went out of his way to seek a conviction. Clodius was influential in Rome, which put Caesar in a delicate spot. He was the (or a) wronged party, but as an up and comer he didn't want to alienate Clodius' supporters. And so when Cicero put him on the stand to testify, he went all Stg. Schultz.
I wasn't there. I didn't see anything. I don't know what happened there.
Cicero was incredulous, because Caesar had divorced his wife after the incident. He asked why, if nothing had happened, had be divorced her?
This is the part that you might have heard before. Caesar replied: Caesar's wife must be above suspicion.
It was all fake, of course. Caesar knew what had happened, or could have figured it out if he wanted it. It was more convenient for his political plans to "not know" anything. And adding to the fakery was his buddy Crassus and the jury tampering that took on epic - and entirely undisguised - proportions.
Clodius walked, because power and money talked. Those without power and money were routinely convicted on trumped up charges. Rome's constitution and institutions were in tatters. Everyone knew that everything was fake, except for naked power. 30 years later the Roman Republic was gone, with Caesar's great nephew hailed by the Senate as Augustus, the first Roman Emperor.
Michael Sussmann also beat the rap. The jury was tampered with in an epic - and entirely undisguised - manner. America's Constitution and institutions are in tatters. Those without power or money languish in prison without trial 18 months after what the rich and powerful called an "insurrection" - seemingly the first in history where none of the "insurrectionists" brought weapons to the "insurrection".
Caesar's wife must be above suspicion, but if you have money and power in Washington D.C. you can pretty much do whatever you want. We will see if a grateful Senate will welcome a strongman to end the civil war in thirty years' time, as did the Roman.