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The Clemens trial resumes, featuring … Roger Clemens

Apr 30, 2012, 1:36 PM EDT

clemens ap AP

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.

  1. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Apr 30, 2012 at 1:53 PM

    Your tax dollars at work people, keeping America safe.

    • lardin - Apr 30, 2012 at 3:25 PM

      Seriously, You think the Justice department shouldn’t go after people who lie to congress? Whats the point of swearing to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth if there is no penalty for lying? It may be a lot of money, but keeping the integrity of Justice department intact is well worth it..

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - May 1, 2012 at 12:56 PM

        I think all parties involved should be at least a bit embarrassed that he was brought to testify in front of Congress in the first place and should be looking to forget the whole thing as quickly as possible. I don’t think it is OK to lie to congress, but I think they have a pretty slim chance of convicting him (based on what I have read about the case so far anyway) and that the only thing they can hope to accomplish is further tarnishing his reputation.

        Does Clemens pose a threat to the United States, to his community or to anyone but the egos of the Congressmen and women who brought him to Washington for a star-gazing celebrity event? Why are public officials pursuing this?

  2. mcsnide - Apr 30, 2012 at 2:08 PM

    I’m gradually coming around on the wisdom of hearings like this. Have you seen the laws these idiots pass when they actually do their jobs?

  3. mybrunoblog - Apr 30, 2012 at 3:02 PM

    Yawn…..

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