WASHINGTON — It took 24 witnesses over 19 days of testimony for prosecutors to make their case against Roger Clemens, with three jurors and two minor pieces of the indictment dismissed by the time they were done. With the overlong-running trial now in its seventh week and Clemens’ lawyers starting to take their turn, the case remains centered on the credibility of one person – Brian McNamee.
The government rested Tuesday in the perjury trial of the seven-time Cy Young Award winner.
The defense is expected to take about two weeks to call its witnesses. The trial has already exceeded the original estimate of four to six weeks stated by the judge.
The heart of the case is the allegation that Clemens lied when he said he had never used steroids or HGH, but the obstruction count included 15 statements, or “acts,” in which Clemens is alleged to have misled Congress on a variety of issues. U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton dismissed two of those acts Tuesday.
The first dismissed act dealt with Clemens’ claim that he had “no idea” that former Sen. George Mitchell wanted to talk with him in preparation for the 2007 Mitchell Report on drugs in baseball. The government couldn’t prove otherwise because some of its evidence was ruled inadmissible due to rules over attorney-client privilege.
The second dismissed act deals with Clemens’ statement in his 2008 deposition that: “I couldn’t tell you the first thing about (HGH).” The judge said that statement could be misinterpreted because it was asked in the context of whether Clemens had ever done any research into HGH.