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Prosecutors: Clemens betrayed his friends

Apr 24, 2012, 1:02 PM EDT

Roger Clemens Getty Images

Figure since I linked a piece on Rusty Hardin’s opening statement that I ought to do the same for the prosecution. They went yesterday afternoon. Their theory: Clemens was obsessed with his legacy. So much so that he was willing to betray friendships in order to preserve it:

The government — more than it did during its opening statement at Clemens’s mistrial last summer — also went heavy on its allegation that Clemens sought to save his reputation by sacrificing some of his closest relationships.

“It is the story of a betrayal of friendships,” Steven Durham, an assistant United States attorney, told the jury of 10 women and 6 men, including four alternates … Within minutes of starting to speak to the jury, the government showed jurors a photograph of Clemens with Andy Pettitte and their former trainer, Brian McNamee — two men who were once close to Clemens.

In the first trial the prosecutors played up some of that “athletes are arrogant and above the law” stuff, as did the prosecutors in the Barry Bonds case. It’s actually a pretty common theme in criminal cases involving athletes. “He’s always been spoiled, and he thinks he can get away with anything,” or words to that effect.

Different tack here. I think it’s a pretty decent one, as far as framing goes.  More human scale and relatable for the jury.  That arrogant athlete stuff isn’t as effective in my view because while it’s understandable, people still worship athletes even if they know better. It’s almost hard-wired. But someone betraying friends? That’s a lot easier to get your brain around.

Of course it’s all useless if the evidence isn’t there. But it’s interesting all the same.

  1. skids003 - Apr 24, 2012 at 1:08 PM

    He lied to Congress. While I don’t agree with that, there are many people who think Congress is full of them. I don’t know, it’s just all messy.

  2. simon94022 - Apr 24, 2012 at 1:09 PM

    Mind boggling and depressing that our tax dollars are being wasted on this circus for a second time. Even if everything the Feds allege is true, the offense is trivial. End this now.

    • larryhockett - Apr 24, 2012 at 1:49 PM

      What Clemens did or did not inject in his butt is indeed a ludicrous inquiry for Congress, a body which is more than well acquainted with ridiculous endeavors. This “circus” however, is about maintaining the integrity of the process. Politicians and issues will come and go but when you take an oath to testify truthfully, that oath has to be enforced. Our entire system of justice depends on it.

    • max - Apr 24, 2012 at 1:50 PM

      Pretty hard not to agree with this sentiment.

  3. Jonny 5 - Apr 24, 2012 at 1:25 PM

    I’m still waiting for Gore, Cheney, and Bush to be tried for lying to congress as well about passing legislation they directly profit from. But I guess the steroid use of an athlete is much more important to the well being of the US than crooked politicians using the US government to make them wealthy. (eyes rolling so hard they hurt this time)

    • pharmerbrown - Apr 24, 2012 at 1:40 PM

      “Don’t roll your eyes, they’ll get stuck that way”…

      Yes, it is more necessary for people to hold athletes accountable for not following the spirit of the rules of the game than it is to hold politicians accoutable for war-mongering and fiscal irresponsibility. Just look at the rating for ESPN vs. C-SPAN. I don’t think Congress will be inline for a 3 billion dollar local TV rights contract. Although, it might cut the deficit a bit.

      “Yep, they got stuck.”

  4. jxegh - Apr 24, 2012 at 1:41 PM

    Several years ago I read an article about Olympic athletes. The question was “If there were a pill that would guarantee a gold medal but shorten you life span to fifty years, would you take it” Well over 50% of them said yes – and that was just glory. Baseball players would not only attain glory, but riches as well. I’d probably do steroids as well. But it’s time for Clemens to come clean.

  5. WhenMattStairsIsKing - Apr 24, 2012 at 2:12 PM

    Way to destroy the very thing you gave so much up to salvage, Roger.

    I 100% agree with every statement given about what a legal waste of time and money this is. Our nation has way bigger fish to fry.

    But I hope Roger’s actions set the table for players to think differently the next time they consider going down the path he did. At the very least.

  6. buffalomafia - Apr 24, 2012 at 2:44 PM

    This is a big joke! You can buy testosterone supplements @GNC & get andro cream online!

  7. jimmymarlinsfan - Apr 24, 2012 at 3:22 PM

    He charges my step dad 10 bucks for his autograph like 15 years ago…really roger? A little down on your luck in the financial department? I hope they throw the book at him like he threw the bat shard at mike piazza

  8. joewilliesshnoz - Apr 24, 2012 at 3:34 PM

    Wonder how good he’d have been , off the juice ? ? ?

  9. chance72 - Apr 24, 2012 at 11:20 PM

    i think its a huge waste of money.we all know he is guilty and when they find him guilty nothing will happen to whats the point of another trial???

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