Prosecution scores in Clemens’s trial
WASHINGTON - Brian McNamee finally got to name names in front of the jury. Andy Pettitte. Chuck Knoblauch. Mike Stanton. Roger Clemens’s accuser also apologized for the medical condition that caused him to take frequent breaks. He came across as a sympathy figure in the final moments of some 26 hours on the stand, a small counterweight to three days of brutal cross-examination.
The government’s case got a needed boost as it hit the homestretch Monday in the sixth week of the perjury trial that will determine whether Clemens lied to Congress in 2008 when the 11-time All-Star pitcher denied using performance-enhancing drugs.
McNamee, Clemens’s former strength coach, is the only person to claim firsthand knowledge of Clemens using steroids and human growth hormone, and his integrity and credibility were attacked relentlessly last week by Clemens’s lawyer. The government embarked on a rehabilitation job with its key witness during follow-up questioning Monday, then moved on to a beer expert who put a date on the infamous Miller Lite can that became a key piece of evidence and a witness who placed Clemens at a pool party at Jose Canseco’s house in 1998.
Lawyers indicated to the judge that the government might wrap up its case this week, even though Tuesday will be a day off because of a conflict with US District Judge Reggie Walton’s schedule. Clemens lawyer Rusty Hardin then said he would need seven or eight working days to present the defense’s case. Both sides are working to finish before June 8, when further conflicts with Walton’s schedule could cause the trial to go on recess for a month.
Before Monday, McNamee had not been allowed to say that he provided former Clemens teammates Pettitte and Knoblauch with human growth hormone, or that he helped ex-Clemens teammate Mike Stanton obtain HGH from drug dealer Kirk Radomski. The judge had ruled that such information could prejudice the jury against Clemens.
But Hardin’s grueling cross-examination tipped the balance in the other direction, prosecutors argued. Hardin suggested before the jury last week that McNamee had solely or primarily targeted Clemens, and that no one had been charged in connection with McNamee’s accusations, raising the issue of McNamee’s credibility.
Walton therefore ruled that McNamee could name Knoblauch and Stanton as receiving HGH in 2001 when they were with the Yankees, and Pettitte in 2002 when he was with the Yankees.