After five days off, the Roger Clemens trial resumed today with the prosecution calling its first witness. He’s Phil Barnett, who was the staffer for the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee which led the steroids hearings/depositions at which Clemens is accused of lying.
Smart witness to call first in my view. Because what’s the number one comment anyone around here has when this topic comes up? Yep: “why is the government wasting its time on this?” Since we all ask that all the time, you can bet the jury is asking it too, and if they don’t have that answered for them at the outset, they’re going to discount everything the prosecution says with an underlying “so what?” even if it doesn’t matter, legally speaking, if the hearings were a good idea.
That’s not to say that this witness will necessarily convince anyone on the jury that there was a legit reason for the hearings. But it’s certainly worth a shot to try, because if the prosecution can’t get early buy-in that this all matters, they’re gonna have a bad time.
Also this morning: Roger Clemens testimony. No, not live. He’s not taking the stand I wouldn’t imagine. But they are playing his taped deposition testimony from early 2008. In it he explicitly says he didn’t take any drugs at all. No wiggle room with “to my knowledge” or “that I recall” or any of that.
Which makes this all the starker a choice for the jury: believe Brian McNamee, and Clemens is toast. Don’t believe him, and he’s gonna skate.
Finally, if you’re a junkie about this stuff, I highly recommend that you give T.J. Quinn’s Twitter feed a follow. The ESPN writer is at the trial, basically live-tweeting it. I’ll warn you, though: it’s VERY thorough, so you’ll want to steer clear unless you want frequent updates.