Roger Clemens, winner of seven Cy Young awards and 354 games, returns to the courtroom tomorrow for a retrial of his perjury case. Last July, a federal judge declared a mistrial when prosecutors offered inadmissible evidence into the record, a beginner’s mistake.
A video played that included statements from Andy Pettitte’s wife, Laura turned the case against the United States government and presented the possibility that the former Red Sox, Blue Jays, Yankees and Astros pitcher might not face the same charges.
The brevity of the initial trial likely swayed the judge from dismissing charges of perjury, obstruction and making false statements. Culled together, those allegations carry a sentence of nearly thirty years in prison.
Clemens entered the legal system because of his testimony before Congress in 2008. Asked if he’d ever used steroids or performance-enhancing drugs, the legendary starting pitcher answered in the negative. Those statements contradicted his former trainer’s testimony, Brian McNamee, who claimed he’d previously ingested Clemens.
Noted in the 2007 Mitchell Report as well, Clemens’ defense appeared shaky prior to the mistrial.
Now, on the eve of a second trial, both sides face questions.
Clemens and Rusty Hardin, his attorney, represent the last available government steroids target. Lance Armstrong‘s chase ended with a silent whimper. Barry Bonds earned 30 days house arrest on a catch-all obstruction of justice charge.
Without a Clemens conviction, the U.S. attorney’s office will have mostly wasted millions of dollars looking for evidence it couldn’t prove.
And that provides a very small window in which the prosecution may succeed. Juries must be beginning to wonder why the government continues this steroids goose chase without anything to show for it sans an embarrassing mistrial.
Roger Clemens may well have lied during a 2008 Congressional hearing. The definition of perjury is below:
having taken an oath before a competent tribunal, officer, or person, in any case in which a law of the United States authorizes an oath to be administered, that he will testify, declare, depose, or certify truly, or that any written testimony, declaration, deposition, or certificate by him subscribed, is true, willfully and contrary to such oath states or subscribes any material matter which he does not believe to be true…is guilty of perjury and shall, except as otherwise expressly provided by law, be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both. This section is applicable whether the statement or subscription is made within or without the United States.
However, it’s incredibly difficult to prove that crime, hence Barry Bonds’ borderline victory for only being convicted on obstruction of justice.
The United States government needs this victory to justify the millions of taxpayer dollars it spent on pursuing steroids users.
Roger Clemens, eligible for the Hall of Fame next year, requires an acquittal in order to salvage what’s left of his reputation.
Which sides prevails?
This theorist sides with a jury tired of listening to government ghosts. Clemens walks, but not with his dignity and without a ticket to Cooperstown.