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Roger Clemens’ legal strategy: claim that Brian McNamee framed him

Apr 24, 2012, 12:30 PM EDT

Rusty Hardin

This may be something Clemens and his attorney, Rusty Hardin, floated some time ago. But the case, in one form or another, has been going on for over four years now, and I sort of lose track of these things.

In any event, during opening statements this morning, Hardin explained what his story is going to be about how Roger Clemens’ DNA got mixed up with all of those delicious steroids on the syringe that Brian McNamee kept in a used soda can for years:

Roger Clemens’ defense lawyer tells jurors that evidence purportedly showing the pitcher used steroids was manipulated by his former strength coach, Brian McNamee.

Rusty Hardin said in his opening statement Tuesday at Clemens’ perjury trial that evidence collected by McNamee was a “mixed up hodgepodge of garbage.”

Hardin says his team will contend that McNamee mixed steroids with Clemens’ DNA into a needle to frame the star pitcher. Hardin said that McNamee had used the needle to inject Clemens with vitamin B-12.

Hardin is playing defense, of course, so he doesn’t have to prove that McNamee doctored the evidence. He just has to introduce the possibility to jurors and have them believe that it is at least reasonable.  And given that McNamee has some pretty serious credibility problems, it shouldn’t be as hard to spin this tale with him as it might be with a different witness.

Still: one of the first things they teach you as a trial lawyer is that if you promise big in an opening statement, you had better deliver or else the jury won’t believe anything else you say.  So Hardin had better beat the living hell out of McNamee at trial, or else his opening statement is going to look like nothing but empty promises and baloney.

  1. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Apr 24, 2012 at 12:34 PM

    Did he frame Roger? Who knows. Could he have framed Roger? Absolutely.

    Funny that there is far more convincing evidence against Braun than there is against Clemens, but some bloggers are quick to condemn Roger while defending Braun with vigor and vim.

    • ssazz - Apr 24, 2012 at 1:42 PM

      “Still: one of the first things they teach you as a trial lawyer is that if you promise big in an opening statement, you had better deliver or else the jury won’t believe anything else you say.”

      Jose Baez wept.

    • danindelray - Apr 24, 2012 at 1:44 PM

      This is exceptionally ignorant. To say he framed Clemens is to assume that he decided, all the way back in 1998 when no one cared about steroid use in MLB, that if he ever went down, he would take Clemens with him. That he innocently administered B-12 shots (where on earth does a fitness trainer get his hands on liquid B-12?), and saved the needles with Clemens’ blood on them in order to sprinkle steroids on top of them and therefore “prove” that Clemens used PEDs, just in case.

      Clemens and Rusty would be better off if they went with the “the Feds wanted a scalp, and manipulated MacNamee into giving them one.” But no, they had to try to destroy McNamee, and too bad he recognized Clemens for his total lack of integrity, and did something to protect himself: save the proof.

      • jwbiii - Apr 24, 2012 at 6:39 PM

        where on earth does a fitness trainer get his hands on liquid B-12?,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.,cf.osb&fp=d4fc7a1b72522fff

        Not so difficult.

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Apr 26, 2012 at 12:36 PM

        There are innocent people in this world, but Brian McNamee is not one of them. His DEFENSE is that he was a drug dealer. That is the position in which he comes out of this looking the best. Either way, he was hired by Clemens to perform some service, illegally kept some medical samples, wchile storing them in a dirty soda can, and is using this ‘evidence’ to help condemn his client.

        Don’t get me wrong: I am not saying Clemens is a good guy in this. If I had to guess, I would think Clemens probably used steroids. I think the evidence in this case (from the information available) in rather suspect, and Clemens can absolutely create reasonable doubt in this. The real guilty party here should be the people deciding to prosecute this case. For what? Because some Congressmen have bruised egos for thinking that someone may have lied to them? Get over it and spend time fixing what is really wrong with this country. Opinions vary on what that means, but we can all agree that prosecuting Clemens will not accomplish that particular goal.

        I also find it odd that some people seem to support the notion that the years-old needle in a soda can is good evidence, while a urine sample collected by a trained professional and handled in accordance with that training has no value as the basis for an opinion on a player’s guilt or innocence.

  2. aceshigh11 - Apr 24, 2012 at 12:48 PM

    Who Framed Roger Rocket?

    As opposed to who framed Roger Rabbit clearly. Let’s hope for Clemens’ sake that Judge Doom isn’t presiding.

    • ltzep75 - Apr 24, 2012 at 2:11 PM

      Somebody call Bob Hoskins to get to the bottom of this.

      Come to think of it, doesn’t Selig look slightly like Judge Doom?

  3. garylanglais - Apr 24, 2012 at 12:53 PM

    As a nerdy law student…Hardin’s cross-examination of McNamee would be prime-time TV!

  4. hoodstein - Apr 24, 2012 at 12:53 PM


    • larryhockett - Apr 24, 2012 at 1:41 PM

      I know, right? If only there was some way to NOT HAVE TO read the articles about steroids and thus not be so f*ng bored!!!

  5. snowbirdgothic - Apr 25, 2012 at 1:52 AM

    And over at ESPN, Lester Munson made Hardin sound like he’d already gone to the Chewbacca Defense and gotten an acquittal.

    • jwbiii - Apr 25, 2012 at 12:33 PM

      Since Lester Munson is usually 180 degrees wrong, this is big trouble for Clemens.

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