Sunday, August 22, 2010

My Sunday Feeling

To the surprise of absolutely nobody, former All-Star Pitcher Roger Clemens was indicted by a Grand Jury in the District of Columbia last week stemming from his testimony before Congress concerning allegations that he had used human growth hormone-HGH-and steroids. The congressional committee before whom he testified was investigating the extent of steroid use in baseball. Clemens was indicted for perjury, obstruction of Congress and making false statements. In his testimony before Congress, Clemens vociferously denied that he had ever used steroids or HGH.

I hope there is a letter in his lawyers' file documenting the fact that they advised their client to take the 5th. Because Clemens talked himself into a world of trouble on that day. A brief recitation of the history is in order.

Strength coach and sleazebag Brian McNamee said he injected Clemons with steroids and HGH while he was with the New York Yankees. Former Yankee and Astros teammate and former friend Andy Petitte testified in a deposition that McNamee gave him HGH which he used while rehabbing from an injury. Petitte has also testified that Clemens told him that he used HGH. When confronted by that latter point in his testimony, Clemens made the now famous statement that Petitte must have "misremembered" the conversation when giving his testimony.

According to both the New York Times and the Washington Post, McNamee turned over to the Feds cotton swabs and needles from which Clemens's DNA was extracted. And who knows what else they presented to the Grand Jury? We won't know until the trial because Grand Jury proceedings are secret.

I'm not exactly Mister Trial Lawyer around here but I think Clemens has a real problem. The best thing he has going for him is that the Feds may have trouble getting the swabs and needles into evidence because they may not be able to establish a chain of custody from McNamee to law enforcement. Secondly, it is doubtful that the physical evidence was stored by McNamee in such a manner as to adequately preserve the DNA in his custody. And you can bet that Clemens will have an expert that will testify to this effect.

Bt they may not need the physical evidence. The testimony of Petitte will kill Clemens. That and his own big mouth. You may ask if Petitte's testimony is hearsay and if so how is it admissible? You are correct that the statement "Roger told me he used HGH" is hearsay. But it can be used to rebut a prior inconsistent statement. Such as the numerous times Clemens testified under oath that he had not.

Secondly, and this is where Clemens' big mouth once again gets him into trouble, Clemens admitted that McNamee gave him injections when he was with both the Blue Jays and the Yankees. Only he testified that they were B-12 injections. The problem with that testimony, according to the indictment, is that it is the policy of both the Yankees and the Blue Jays organizations to only allow physicians to administer B-12 injections. When the B-12 is not in use it is locked up and training personnel do not have access to it.

Finally, rumor has it that Clemens foolishly complained of soreness in the injection sites to Yankees medical personnel who x-rayed the glute. They found that the problems with the sites were consistent with steroid injections. Not B-12. Undoubtedly this will come out in Court as well.

Rusty Hardin, one of Clemens's lawyers, suggested in an interview the other day that it is premature to assign a lot of weigh to the testimony against his client. Rocket continues to maintain both his innocence and that he didn't use steroids. "Isn't that evidence that he didn't do it?" Mr. Hardin asked rhetorically.

Of course it is. But the only way they get it in is to put Clemens on the stand. And they don't want to do that.

Even at that, from what I can see there's more evidence that he did use steroids and HGH than there is that he didn't. Somebody needs to inject Clemens with something that will reduce his hubris because he needs to cut a deal.

Because being self-delusional does not translate into provable facts.

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