Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Roger Clemens Almost Struck Out Brian McNamee

Nannygate. Misremembered. Bloody pants. On Capitol Hill, today's "Roman circus" added to pop culture. But it also gave Roger Clemens and his legal team new headaches going forward.

By the end of the day, we still don't have any definitive answers. However, it is clear to me that Brian McNamee can't be trusted either. Both Roger Clemens and Brian McNamee aren't telling the truth.

The proceedings, which included newly disclosed evidence, raised further questions about the possibility of future criminal investigations and charges.

Problems For Clemens:

First, Clemens had no solid answer for the devastating testimony and written statement from Andy Pettitte. Not only did Pettitte corroborate McNamee's testimony about Pettitte's use of HGH, he also established a chronology on Clemens' statements about HGH that could lead to a perjury charge. Responding to Pettitte's assertion that Clemens told him he used HGH, Clemens insisted on several occasions during Wednesday's hearing that Pettitte had "misunderstood" him. He suggested that the subject of the Pettitte-Clemens conversation was the use of HGH by Clemens' wife. Clemens even tried to interrupt committee chairman Henry Waxman to repeat his claim at the end of the hearing, and Waxman gaveled him into angry silence. The problem for Clemens is that Debbie Clemens' alleged use of HGH came two years after Clemens' conversation with Pettitte. And, as Waxman explained, that means Clemens "made untrue statements in his deposition [sworn testimony to the committee last week]."

Now has anyone even for a second stopped to consider perhaps Andy Pettitte was wrong with the claims he made. I like how before they gave his testimonies, they built him up to sound like Mother Teresa. Even Mother Teresa lied. Pettitte is human like you and me and that makes him just as susceptible to lying. Pettitte has a weak character and when the Government came to him with questions he crawled into a hole like a defenseless, scared rabbit and told them everything that they wanted to hear. What kind of evidence is memory from 10 years ago?? Some people can't remember what they had for lunch. The courtroom made me sick in the way they praised Andy Pettitte. If he had walked in that day, the court would have bowed and worshiped him as he sat down and took off his halo. Do they not remember that he is an acknowledged cheater too?

Second, Clemens and his legal team blundered into the possibility of a charge of tampering with a witness. The potential charge could stem from their handling of a committee request for information about a woman who once served as a Clemens family nanny. (The committee staff requested the woman's contact information last week.) The committee wanted to ask her about a barbecue luncheon at Jose Canseco's house in Miami in June 1998, and whether Clemens attended the party. The protocol for producing a witness requires that a lawyer, or an investigator for the lawyer, contact a witness and send their information to the committee. Instead of following the protocol, Clemens called the former nanny personally and invited her to his home for a meeting on Sunday. We do not yet have the entire content of their conversation, but it is clear that he discussed the inquiry with her. Waxman was clearly angry that Clemens talked with the nanny before the committee's staff interviewed her and said, "At the very least, it has the appearance of impropriety."

McNamee was attacked viciously by a few Republican members of the committee and called a "liar" and "drug dealer," McNamee performed surprisingly well. He admitted that he had been less than truthful with federal agents and the Mitchell committee. He said he withheld some of his information -- and his box of syringes, vials and gauze pads -- in an effort to "downplay the use of these drugs" and protect players. But in the course of interviews with five groups of investigators, including Clemens' detectives, he gradually revealed the information he knew and the physical evidence that he had accumulated. McNamee's statements have been corroborated by Pettitte and Chuck Knoblauch. Mitchell and his staff have endorsed his veracity on numerous occasions. It is unlikely that the committee will recommend charges against McNamee and equally unlikely that the FBI or the IRS will investigate him.

Andy Pettitte is the most important witness. Although the committee members clearly disagreed on the relative veracity of McNamee and Clemens, they all agreed that Pettitte is a man of integrity who responded to the committee's questions with truths that were painful to him. His testimony about his friend Clemens was a most painful act of integrity, both sides agreed. Both the Democrats and Republicans thought so highly of Pettitte and his cooperation that they granted his request to be excused from testifying at Wednesday's hearing. Excusing Pettitte might have been a mistake. If he had been present to tell his story of HGH and his conversations with Clemens, it could have been the most illuminating testimony in the hearing. It is of considerable benefit to Clemens that Pettitte, with his material highly damaging to Clemens, was not present to add to his problems. Any decision on the prosecution of Clemens will turn not on McNamee's credibility but on that of Andy Pettitte.

Why would McNamee claim to have injected Pettitte and Knoblauch with steroids (both of which have been confirmed to be true), but for some reason make up a story about injecting Clemens? That makes no sense and McNamee has no reason to lie. That's enough evidence for me to believe Clemens is lying.

Then again....

I didn't know McNamee was a former police officer. Why would a police officer, who is supposed to uphold the legal law, give players illegal steroids? What irony. That's like a fire truck catching on fire and shows McNamee can't be trusted.

So what happens now? Nothing is certain, but there might be additional investigations of Clemens' testimony and of the nanny situation. It could come from the committee or, more likely, from the team of federal agents who have been working on the BALCO investigation.

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