The perjury trial of Roger Clemens is getting underway in Washington, D.C. and things have got off to an inauspicious start for the prosecution.
Judge Reggie Walton lambasted Congress for not turning over tapes of Clemens' February 2008 deposition before investigators for the House of Representatives Government Reform Committee.
I suspect that Clemens' former trainer, Brian MacNamee, is not going to be very helpful to the prosecution. In January 2008, MacNamee supplied the government with needles, gauze and vials which purportedly demonstrate that he injected Clemens with HGH. The problem is that MacNamee kept this material in his home since 2001. It's not like this was kept in an independent labratory operating under a set of evidentary protocols. MacNamee had the means, motive and opportunity to contaminate this "evidence."
As for his former Yankees & Astros teammate Andy Pettitte, sports talk radio host Steve Kallas argues that his testimony could very well end up helping Clemens rather than hurting him. Citing the deposition Pettitte gave to the same Congressional investigators, Pettitte states on more than one occasion he misunderstood Clemens telling him that he had used HGH when in fact it was his Clemens' wife, Debbie, who had used it. So perhaps Clemens was right to say that Pettitte "misremembered" their conversation after all.
Based on this information, I am inclined to believe that Clemens will be acquitted of all the charges.
I wish there were more people who hadn't accepted The Mitchell Report at face value or at the very least attempted to be skeptical about it like yours truly. If greater diligence had beene exercised perhaps the government would have stayed out of it and this sorry spectacle would not have come to pass. Unfortunately, even if Clemens is acquitted it might not matter. As Richard Justice of The Houston Chronicle wrote in December 2007:
No matter what happens now, Roger Clemens is forever tainted. Every accomplishment is diminished, and no amount of bluster by his attorney can change that basic fact. Even if Clemens can somehow refute the dozens of details and prove his innocence, the suspicion will linger. He will never be viewed the same way by many of the fans who once adored him.
And whose fault is that? The fault lies with George Mitchell, Henry Waxman (then Chairman of the House Government Reform Committee) as well as all the other politicians and journalists who sought glory by partaking in this witch-hunt.
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