Washington, D.C. – Prosecutors in the retrial of seven time Cy Young Award winner Roger Clemens were dealt a series of setbacks today in his retrial today. Former teammate Andy Pettitte put his entire testimony into doubt with his answer to some of the prosecutor’s questions.
Pettitte, a long time friend of Clemens was on the stand to help the prosecutors make the case that Clemens took steroids and human growth hormone during the time he was in Major League Baseball.
During cross-examination, Clemens’ lawyers got exactly the answers they wanted.
Defense attorneys asked Pettitte if it was possible he misunderstood Clemens in the conversations they had about the drugs during the 1999-2000 offseason?
“I could have,” Pettitte answered.
Is it fair to say there is a “50-50″ chance that Pettitte misunderstood?
“I’d say that’s fair,” Pettitte replied.
U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton was not impressed with Pettitte’s testimony and Clemens’ lawyers moved to strike Pettitte’s testimony about the 1999-2000 conversation as “insufficiently definitive.”
The judge wanted to know why prosecutors wouldn’t ask Pettitte to just describe the conversation as he remembered it but the prosecutors never did.
“I was waiting for you to ask, and you didn’t ask that,” Walton said. “My understanding is that (Pettitte’s) position is at this time, he is conflicted. … His testimony now before the jury is ‘I don’t know. thought that what we would hear is, ‘Mr. Pettitte, currently, what is your memory of what Mr. Clemens told you back in 1999?’”
The trial just went downhill from there as the judge wouldn’t even allow the government’s next witness on the stand.
Prosecutors had planned to call Steve Fehr, an attorney for the Major League Baseball players’ union. The judge wouldn’t allow him on the stand because he could fundamentally change the direction of the trial by admitting things that may be covered under attorney client privilege.
Judge Walton told prosecutors,
“Maybe I’m dense. I’m starting to think that maybe I just don’t understand the law — because you’re taking positions that are totally absurd to me.You’re beating a dead horse, and you’ve not going to make it come alive. You’re not going to win this one.”
He gave the government until tomorrow to follow-up with Pettitte and to justify why they believe that Fehr should be allowed to take the stand.