Judge tosses Issa subpoena in Clemens case

Former Major League Baseball pitcher Roger Clemens arrives

Former Major League Baseball pitcher Roger Clemens arrives at federal court in Washington. (May 24, 2012) (Credit: AP)

WASHINGTON -- A federal judge Monday threw out a defense subpoena to require Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) to testify about his 2008 statements to reporters that a House hearing on steroids in baseball was "all about entrapping Roger Clemens."

Clemens' defense team had sought Issa's testimony as part of its case to undermine the legitimacy of the Feb. 13, 2008, hearing that led to the former Yankee pitcher's six-count indictment on charges of obstructing Congress, making false statements and perjury.

But as the Clemens perjury trial entered its eighth week, U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton granted the motion by Issa and the House of Representatives to quash the subpoena during an afternoon hearing on motions Monday.

Walton said the government had presented evidence that the hearing had a legitimate legislative purpose, that the defense could not be certain what Issa would say, and that if he allowed Issa to testify he would have to let prosecutors call other members of Congress.

Walton also rejected a prosecution motion to limit a forensic scientist's testimony for the defense about the possibility that Brian McNamee, Clemens' accuser and former trainer, could have manufactured the needles, swabs and cotton balls he said he saved after injecting Clemens.

In another key matter, Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven Durham said Monday that after talking to the lawyer for Eileen McNamee, he had asked the Justice Department to grant her immunity to testify against her estranged husband, Brian McNamee.

Clemens attorney Rusty Hardin said last week he expected to question Eileen McNamee not only about how she and her husband handled the saved needles and swabs, but also about her husband's drinking and prescription-drug use at the time he says he gave Clemens injections.

Also Monday, the defense said it planned to put on the witness stand Rohan Biachu, a former masseuse for the Yankees and the Mets, who was expected to testify that Clemens' body did not change in ways associated with steroid use.

Durham said he worried Hardin would tell the jury that Clemens' body never changed, saying that not all steroid users have muscular bodies like Jose Canseco.

Durham said the government is looking to find a rebuttal witness to counter the masseuse.

The jury trial is scheduled to resume Tuesday.

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