Clemens' lawyer warns jurors against 'lies'
WASHINGTON -- Lawyers for Roger Clemens urged the jury Tuesday to acquit the former Yankees star pitcher of all charges in his perjury trial, saying there "is not one bit of credible evidence" that Clemens ever used performance-enhancing drugs.
Defense lawyer Rusty Hardin called Clemens the victim of a "horrible, horrible overreach by government" based on "the lies" of his former trainer Brian McNamee -- all because Clemens "dared to say publicly he is not guilty of a crime."
Prosecutors urged the jury to convict Clemens on all six counts of the indictment, arguing that Clemens had hand-picked McNamee as his "drug dealer," and then made up "cover stories" to lie about it to protect his reputation and his "brand" as a baseball icon.
"Early on Roger Clemens kept Brian McNamee on because he was his drug dealer," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Courtney Saleski. "Later on, he kept him on because he knew he was his dirty little secret."
The closing arguments Tuesday came after a two-month trial of Clemens, indicted on charges he lied to Congress in February 2008 when he denied using steroids. U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton afterward turned the case over to the jury.
The arguments focused on the credibility of McNamee and Clemens, the strength of Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte's testimony, and the reliability of needles and swabs McNamee said he saved after injecting Clemens.
Clemens' lawyers, Michael Attanasio and Hardin, attacked McNamee, of Long Beach, as an opportunist and manipulator. Assistant U.S. Attorney Gilberto Guerrero acknowledged McNamee "is a flawed man." He added, "We're not asking you to like him."Citing scientific testing of needles and swabs, Saleski said experts found Clemens' DNA and steroids, corroborating McNamee's testimony.
But Attanasio called the saved evidence "garbage," adding it was likely created by McNamee. "If his lips are moving about this stuff, he's lying," he said.On Pettitte's testimony, Saleski said the pitcher believed "100 percent" that Clemens told him in 1999 or 2000 he used human growth hormone. Attanasio, though, said Pettitte agreed on the stand it was "50-50" he might have misheard Clemens. Guerrero said Pettitte wavered to help his friend.
"This case is about two men," Hardin said. "It's really also the story of two women -- the accused's wife and the accuser's wife."
Both sides used their opponent's wives to make points.
Saleski said the testimony of Clemens' wife, Debbie, backed up much of McNamee's version. Hardin said McNamee's estranged wife, Eileen, disputed testimony he gave about her, showing how his story "changed" over time.
The two sides also sparred over the HGH shot all agree McNamee gave Debbie Clemens.
Hardin said it happened in 2000 without her husband present. Saleski noted Clemens and McNamee said it happened three year later, and McNamee said Clemens was in the room.
To believe McNamee, Hardin told jurors, "You have to believe beyond a reasonable doubt that Debbie Clemens is a liar."