By Steve Kallas
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In the federal courtroom of Judge Reggie Walton in Washington, D.C., the cross-examination of star witness (against Roger Clemens) Brian McNamee by lawyer Rusty Hardin continued today in a morning-only session. So far (the very end of trial on Monday and the morning-only session on Tuesday), we certainly have not seen the kind of withering cross-examination that was expected by lead defense counsel Rusty Hardin.
To this writer, Brian McNamee, for the most part, has come across as a believable witness in a tough spot. Remember, when you look at the history of the whole steroids debacle, people tend to look at it differently now when one of the leading truth-tellers has turned out to be Jose Canseco (book(s) and all).
Initially, hardly anyone believed Canseco (and his name came up today when McNamee testified that Roger Clemens had a steroids conversation with Canseco). To date, one can argue that Canseco is the greatest truth-teller in a land of half-truths or even outright lies.
WHAT ABOUT THE CROSS-EXAMINATION?
Well, Rusty Hardin has done an interesting thing by setting forth in front of the jury a three-columned board with column headings “Mistake,” “Something Based on Bad Memory” and “Lie” (references to trial testimony are from the tweets of Jim Baumbach of Newsday and/or The Daily News I-Team). Obviously there to impact the jury (and it says here that might very well work), so far (cross continues on Thursday) there hasn’t been a whole lot on the chart to sway the jury.
Having said that, McNamee has admitted before this jury that he has intentionally lied. He’s also been forced to admit that Roger Clemens didn’t use the word “steroids,” instead, according to McNamee, he assumed that Clemens’ use of the words “thigh shot” or “booty shot” meant that he wanted to be injected with steroids.
But try as he might, Hardin was pretty much (so far) unable to break McNamee or make him out to be an unreliable witness.
ONE GOOD PIECE OF TESTIMONY FOR THE CLEMENS’ DEFENSE
There was one piece of testimony by McNamee that, it says here, may be very helpful to the Clemens defense. Earlier in the trial, admitted steroids dealer Kirk Radomski (who has written his own interesting book on the subject) told how he had mailed some HGH to the home of Roger Clemens, the implication clearly being that it was for McNamee to inject Roger Clemens.
But today, apparently for the first time, Brian McNamee testified that he told now-famous federal steroid cop Jeff Novitzky (Balco, Barry Bonds, etc.) that the HGH Radomski sent to McNamee at the house of Roger Clemens was for DEBBIE Clemens, not ROGER Clemens.
This, from the star witness for the prosecution.
McNamee was forced to agree with Rusty Hardin that he (McNamee) had never said that before.
That strikes this writer as all but negating the testimony of Kirk Radomski and the notion that HGH was sent to the home of Roger Clemens for the use of Roger Clemens.
That’s powerful stuff to the benefit of the defense.
The cross-examination of Brian McNamee continues on Thursday morning.