The 7 time Cy Young Award winner faced 6 counts of lying to Congress in 2008 when he testified under oath that he never used performance enhancing drugs.
Jurors deliberated just ten hours before finding Clemens not guilty on all counts.
I asked Rusty Hardin, his lead attorney, whether the short deliberation was indicative of the case against his client.
“Those jurors we talked to, felt very strongly that Roger did not use steroids or HGH, and they felt very strongly that he was not guilty. I’ve seen an article or two, where people are suggesting it had something to do with the lawyers, or wealthy people get off, or the government didn’t meet their burden. The fact is, none of that appears to be true, as far as the jury is concerned.”
Prosecutors offered no comment as they left the court, and later issued a prepared statement thanking the jury for its service. Hardin too had praise for 8 women and 4 men.
“I told people in 37 years, it’s one of the two best juries I ever had. They watched, they listened, they wrote good questions. They were a phenomenal jury and I was telling people that before we got a favorable verdict.”
But prosecutors were widely criticized for spending too much time and money going after the 49 year old Clemens.
He spent a fortune in winning acquittal, as the government did in prosecuting him.
Professor Gerald Treece of the South Texas College of Law, says the case gave him another teaching tool.
“In the same building, where Judge [John] Sirica issued orders that were called Watergate — that led to the dismantling of a presidency and a resignation — we dealt for nine and half weeks over whether or not Roger Clemens was telling the truth to Congress. When you equate the government interest and compare what that building has known in the great parts of American history it’s been — this is just a sad footnote.”
Government lawyers, whose botched attempt to convict Clemens last year ended in a mistrial, appeared doomed nearly from the start of the second trial with numerous contradictions that created gaps in their case, not to mention the testimony of their star witness, former trainer Brian McNamee.
“This guy’s testimony — when his soon-to-been ex-wife, that is of McNamee, is also saying he’s a liar. So I just think this will be the last of the big sports people charged with obstruction, or perjury, or even funny, obstruction of Congress. I didn’t even know it was an offense until this case.”
While the outcome may have vindicated Clemens, Treece says his statistics would normally make him a shoo-in for baseball’s greatest honor:
“I think it came out about right. I just regret, for Roger, that he has no place to go to get his reputation back.”