Thursday, August 19, 2010

New Column: Roger Clemens Indicted

I have a new column on on the indictment of Roger Clemens. Here's an excerpt:

* * *
Clemens, though, is not an ordinary person. For starters, he will be able to afford the kind of legal representation that few defendants could imagine. Being able to assemble a "legal team" is itself often a marker of wealth. Clemens will likely retain seasoned and prominent defense lawyers who have tried and won perjury cases and also those who will adroitly attack the DNA evidence offered by the government. Given that a conviction could carry a prison sentence, expect Clemens to spare no expense.

* * *

Attorneys for Clemens will also attack the testimony and purported evidence of McNamee.

They will criticize his background, question his truthfulness, and through retained DNA experts, challenge the admissibility and reliability of the syringes and other paraphernalia purportedly containing Clemens's DNA. If there is even a shred of doubt as to how McNamee stored and handled the allegedly incriminating materials, DNA experts retained by Clemens will probably be able to paint a story that leaves the jury with serious doubt. Clemens' lawyers will also portray McNamee as throwing Clemens under the bus to avoid a government prosecution of his own.

The government's best evidence against Clemens may have nothing to do with DNA evidence. Instead, it may be the likely testimony of Pettitte, whom prosecutors will probably call as a witness. Pettitte told Congress in 2008 that Clemens admitted to him that he used Human Growth Hormone. Clemens' lawyers will have to show that Pettitte somehow misremembered the conversation he had with Clemens, or that Clemens may have made the comment in jest. Whether a jury will convict Clemens based alone on a disputed conversation with Pettitte or possibly conversations with other players -- but in the absence of credible physical evidence -- remains to be seen. Juries are not always predictable. And that itself may be Clemens' greatest worry.

* * *

To read the rest, click here. Also did an interview with Sports Illustrated Inside Report on the indictment and one with The FAN 590.