By Steve Kallas
» More Columns
On Tuesday, May 29, the prosecution in the perjury trial of Roger Clemens rested after presenting its case-in-chief. Despite great efforts by the Clemens defense team, it says here that the government scored plenty of points with the jury; enough to get Roger Clemens convicted of one or more counts and enough, given Judge Reggie Walton’s statements at the abbreviated first trial, to send Roger Clemens to jail.
Of course, there still may be some room for some bombshells as the defense started presenting its case on Tuesday afternoon. However, it is unlikely that Roger Clemens will take the stand and, often times, despite the fact that the defendant has every right not to take the stand, that is held against the defendant by jurors (consciously or not).
If Clemens does take the stand, it will be a gigantic news story, both in the legal world and the sports world.
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE PROSECUTION
Well, by all means not complete, some of the highlights included (all in-court references come from tweets from either Jim Baumbach of Newsday or the Daily News I-Team):
1) THE TESTIMONY OF BRIAN McNAMEE. Despite talk from the defense about the withering cross-examination that was to come of McNamee, the trainer of Clemens who graphically testified about injecting Clemens numerous times with HGH and steroids, McNamee held up very well and, essentially, made for a very good witness. In the crazy world of the steroids era, it turns out that the people who most told the truth (with possibly a lie here or a lie there) were people like Jose Canseco, Kirk Radomski and Brian McNamee. Go figure.
2) THE DNA EVIDENCE. It was hard to believe that syringes and needles and cotton balls, stuck in a beer can in a garage or basement for a number of years, could lead to a conviction of anyone on perjury charges, etc. But the government did a good job with expert testimony tying Roger Clemens to the stuff that McNamee had saved. When Rusty Hardin tried hard to show that McNamee simply made this stuff up after the fact, the prosecution was allowed to bring in two convincing witnesses (including former major leaguer David Segui), who testified that McNamee had told them about keeping the evidence many years before the whole Congressional investigation/Clemens testimony. This final prosecution evidence totally countered one false theory of the defense (that McNamee made it up after the fact).
3) THE TESTIMONY OF KIRK RADOMSKI. Radomski (who has written his own scary, frank book on his involvement of selling steroids to professional athletes) testified about sending HGH to Clemens house and providing steroids that were allegedly used by Clemens. Although the defense scored some points on cross, the connect-the-dots approach of the prosecution may have very well positively influenced the jury from a prosecution perspective.
4) THE JOSE CANSECO PARTY. On a specific charge against Clemens (who said he was not at a party at Canseco’s house in June of 1998), the government produced witnesses and even pictures that clearly showed that Clemens was at the party (where an alleged discussion on steroids and steroid use took place among Clemens, Canseco and a third man). While not a seemingly “big” lie, these pictures, and the accompanying testimony of other witnesses (in addition to McNamee) could very well lead to a felony conviction.
5) THE TESTIMONY OF RESPECTED TRAINER GENE MONAHAN. A large part of the Clemens defense is that Clemens received numerous B12 shots as opposed to anything illegal. Included in that is that Clemens testified before Congress that he was injected with B12 in open areas and that there were multiple needles “already lined up and ready to go” in the trainer’s room for the New York Yankees. Monahan totally contradicted that testimony, saying he never saw anything like that. Other trainers for other teams said the same thing. Thus, even if the government fails on the bigger issues, they have Clemens pretty good on things like B12 shots and the afore-mentioned Canseco party.
While not exhaustive, the above gives you a flavor for what the prosecution has given the jury – a road map on a number of different issues, which can lead to one or more felony convictions on one or more counts. One final note: while briefly killed by the media for what was viewed to be wishy-washy testimony against his once-best friend, Andy Pettitte actually testified pretty much as he did in that long 2008 deposition before Congressional aides (see Kallas Remarks, 7/5/11). Pettitte knows, if nothing else, that if Clemens is convicted of anything, it won’t be because of his (Pettitte’s) testimony.
IS ALL LOST FOR ROGER CLEMENS?
Not necessarily, but, to this writer, the defense is trying to crawl out of a big hole. Having said that, you never know what a jury is going to do. Will one or more of the jurors be mesmerized by Rusty Hardin and the rest of the defense? Will one or more of the jurors be mesmerized by Roger Clemens, a Hall of Fame pitcher long before he took anything that Brian McNamee might have injected him with? Will one or more of the jurors agree with many that this was an enormous waste of the government’s time and the taxpayers’ money and, thus, vote not guilty?
Hey, you never know.
But we will all find out in the next two weeks or so.