The United States government is taking its second swing at convicting Roger Clemens for lying before Congress back in 2008 during his testimony about the use of steroids in Major League Baseball.
Their first trial back in July of 2011 ended in a mistrial and they are now re-trying Clemens on six felony counts that include obstructing Congress, making false statements and perjury. If convicted, Clemens could face 15 to 21 months in prison.
There are two main witnesses for the government, Brian McNamee (Clemens’ former trainer) and Andy Pettitte (Clemens’ former teammate when they were both on the New York Yankees roster). McNamee claims he injected Clemens with human growth hormone (HGH) numerous times during his playing career.
Pettitte has testified that Clemens told him back in 1999 or 2000 that he (Clemens) had used HGH to help him recover from injuries and intense workouts.
It has to be noted that Roger Clemens has never failed a drug test. He has continually denied using steroids and HGH. The case against him is based solely on the testimony of McNamee and Pettitte.
And Andy Pettitte may have already dealt a blow to the government’s case when he suggested, under cross examination, that he may have “misunderstood” when Clemens allegedly told him that he used HGH. This happened on the first day of the new trial. So it seems like this trial isn’t going any better than the first one.
One wonders why the government is making so much effort for Clemens then they dropped their doping case against Lance Armstrong and only succeeded in getting a 30-day house arrest sentence for Barry Bonds. (Bonds is appealing the sentence, by the way) Roger Clemens may not be the most sympathetic character (in fact most people think he’s kind of a jerk) but it seems like the government has a vendetta for him.
It was the prosecutor’s incompetence that caused a mistrial in the first place. They inexplicably presented barred evidence to the jury, causing Judge Reggie B. Walton to declare a mistrial and criticized them by stating, “A first-year law student would know you can’t bolster the credibility of one witness with clearly inadmissible evidence.”
Nobody likes losing, but to be publicly embarrassed like that must have been hard for the government to swallow. Some think that is the only reason they are coming after him again. They are just trying to save face.
If the government does succeed in getting a conviction this time the people are going to have to ask if it was really worth it. One has to think that the government could be spending its time and energy elsewhere, like fixing the economy or ending the war in Afghanistan or providing health care for all Americans.
But I suppose convicting Roger Clemens would be a lot easier. That is if they don’t blow it again.
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