Tuesday, June 19, 2012


When a defendant in a trial is found "not guilty" by a jury of his/her peers, the verdict is either correct or the defense attorney(s) were great salesmen.

Not sure what I think in this case.

Roger Clemens was acquitted Monday on all charges that he obstructed and lied to Congress in denying he used performance-enhancing drugs to extend his long career as one of the greatest and most-decorated pitchers in baseball history.

Fierce on the pitching mound in his playing days, Clemens was quietly emotional after the verdict was announced. "I'm very thankful," he said, choking up as he spoke. "It's been a hard five years," said the pitcher, who was retried after an earlier prosecution ended in a mistrial.

ESPN legal analyst Lester Munson seemed to believe that Clemens' attorneys totally outperformed the prosecutors selected by the government.

In a withering, 15-hour cross-examination over three days, Clemens attorney Rusty Hardin confronted McNamee with a series of what Hardin called "lies, mistakes and bad memory," and, incredibly, caught McNamee "making something up" before the jury, something he had not said in five previous versions of his story of Clemens and PEDs.

In their verdict here on Monday, after less than 11 hours of deliberation, the jurors stated definitively that they believed what they saw and heard from Clemens in the excerpts and that they did not believe anything that (Clemens' former trainer Brian) McNamee told them.

The Congressional committee had reached the opposite conclusion after hearing from both men, refusing to believe Clemens and believing McNamee. But as attorney Hardin explained frequently during the 4 1/2 years since they testified, the real test of their veracity would come in a jury trial, a proceeding in which credibility would be tested in the crucible of cross-examination.

In the jury trial, Hardin and Clemens had the advantage. Clemens' version of the truth came in the video and audio excerpts, and federal prosecutors, who could not force Clemens to testify under the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, had no opportunity for cross-examination.

McNamee's version was subject not only to Hardin's masterly cross-examination, it was contradicted on critical points by testimony from McNamee's estranged wife, Eileen, as a direct result of some impressive work by Hardin and his team of lawyers and investigators. Working quickly and effectively, the Hardin team pounced when the prosecutors announced that they would not be calling Eileen as a witness, obtaining her cooperation and an award of immunity for her from the U.S. Department of Justice.

As such, it appears Clemens is now in the clear from a legal standpoint. Now the only question that remains is will the Baseball Writers Association be convinced to vote him in to the Baseball Hall of Fame? At the end of this season, Clemens will have been inactive the mandatory minimum of five years, meaning he will be eligible for the Hall for the first time when the BBWAAs vote in February. Since Clemens has never officially tested positive for PEDs, the baseball writers must now be the proverbial morality judges and decide if they too buy the story dished out by Clemens and his attorneys.

Oh, and another interesting side note: Barry Bonds will also be on the ballot come February 2013. Expect to hear the roars of the Reverends Sharpton and Jackson if Clemens is somehow voted in to the Hall and Bonds is not.


1 comment:

Mr. D said...

Good post, Brad.