Ex-New York Yankees pitcher Roger Clemens, on trial for allegedly lying to Congress when he denied using steroids and human growth hormone, lost a bid to have testimony of his former teammate Andy Pettitte thrown out from consideration by the jury.
U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton, ruling from the bench today in Washington, said that Pettitte’s testimony regarding a conversation the two had about human growth hormone, or HGH, more than 10 years ago can remain in the case despite Pettitte’s admission under questioning from Clemens’s lawyer that he may have misunderstood what Clemens told him.
“It seems to me the 51 percent has been satisfied and it is for the jury to assess which version of testimony Mr. Pettitte gave is an accurate indication of what Mr. Clemens said to him when the discussion of HGH took place,” Walton said.
Clemens asked Walton to throw out some of Pettitte’s testimony because it “is not definitive enough to qualify to be an admissible statement.”
Under questioning May 2, Pettitte said it was possible he misunderstood Clemens in a conversation about use of HGH that took place during a workout at Clemens’s home in 1999 or 2000. Pettitte agreed under cross-examination that there was a 50 percent chance he didn’t understand what Clemens had told him.
Walton said the standard for admissibility is based on a so-called preponderance of evidence or 51 percent assurance. He said the government met that burden when Pettitte, 39, testified that during the workout Clemens told him that he had taken HGH and that it could help with recovery.
Pettitte made his return to the Yankees yesterday after a one year retirement from Major League Baseball.
Clemens, 49, is charged with one count of obstructing a congressional investigation, three counts of making false statements and two counts of perjury. He faces as long as 21 months in prison if convicted.
The case is U.S. v. Clemens, 10-cr-00223, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington).