May 1, 2012, 12:32 PM EST
This is a surprise: Andy Pettitte just showed up at the courthouse in Washington and is expected to testify today in the Roger Clemens trial. It was thought that his testimony would come later in the trial.
1. This will certainly be good for him and the Yankees, as it gets a big distraction out of the way before he makes his debut with the big club; and
2. I said this once a long time ago, but I don’t think Pettitte’s testimony helps the prosecution that much. At least if Clemens’ lawyers are smart about his cross examination. That’s because if you back and look at his congressional deposition, he was pretty darn equivocal about Clemens’ PED use. He said he never saw Clemens use and never knew for sure that he did. He thought at one time that Clemens said he did, but that he later was told that he was mistaken about that and basically took it at face value. The most they have out of Pettitte with any degree of certainty is that he and Clemens once discussed PEDs in a fairly innocuous way.
Now, Clemens’ lawyers still have to be very careful here. Pettitte is going to likely come off as a nice guy and sympathetic witness, and it would be a major mistake to go after him with any degree of vehemence. But, if they’re subtle, and simply and politely walk Pettitte through his past testimony while adding some helpful “but you weren’t sure, is that right?” and some “but you never saw him take anything, that is your testimony?” He can actually help Clemens’ case, not hurt it.
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