Former New York Yankees pitcher Roger Clemens, standing trial for the second time on charges he lied about drug use, opposed federal prosecutors’ efforts to prove he used human growth hormone based on testimony from former teammate Andy Pettitte.
Clemens’s lawyers, in a filing yesterday with U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton in Washington, decried what they called an attempt to prove “guilt by association” by having Pettitte testify he obtained HGH from Clemens’s trainer, Brian McNamee, without having to show Clemens played any role in the decision to do so.
“The government seeks to create an environment in which a juror may conclude that Mr. McNamee’s injection of Mr. Pettitte makes it more likely that Mr. McNamee also injected Mr. Clemens,” according to the filing, which asks the judge to deny a U.S. request to introduce such evidence. “This evidence is irrelevant and prejudicial because the two issues, according to Mr. Pettitte himself, are entirely unrelated.”
Clemens is charged with one count of obstructing a congressional investigation, three counts of making false statements and two counts of perjury in connection with a congressional probe of ballplayers’ alleged use of performance-enhancing drugs. If convicted on all counts, he may face as long as 30 years in prison and a $1.5 million fine.
Prosecutors in an April 16 filing said testimony that Pettitte used human growth hormone injected by McNamee is relevant to their case.
“You cannot strip out half of the narrative and have it make any sense,” prosecutor Steven Durham told Walton during a pause in jury selection.
Clemens, 49, made his Major League Baseball debut in 1984 and played for four different teams over 23 years. Clemens and Pettitte were teammates with the Yankees and the Houston Astros.
Walton last year declared a mistrial after prosecutors introduced evidence he had previously barred. Jury selection in the retrial began on April 16.
Walton spent most of yesterday on jury selection, which he said will probably continue next week as the court narrows the juror pool to 36 from an initial 90. The court will whittle that to 12 jurors and four alternates. A total of 24 potential jurors had been selected before the Pettitte testimony was discussed.
The case is U.S. v. Clemens, 10-cr-00223, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington).