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Will Roger Clemens Face Perjury Charges?

Roger Clemens went to Capitol Hill yesterday to deny  allegations that he used performance-enhancing drugs during his career as a Major League pitcher.  Apparently, the question around the blogosphere isn't so much whether Clemens used drugs or not -- most of the opinions I've seen remained skeptical about Clemens' denials.   The more pressing question is whether Clemens will face perjury charges for lying under oath before the House Committee.   

For example, Paul Flannery at the Boston Magazine Blog asserts: 

There is very little doubt in our area that Clemens is lying his “palpable mass” off...Clemens spoke haltingly, answered evasively, contradicted himself, and whispered with his lawyers when asked to explain these contradictions.

  Flannery also questions the strategy of Clemens' attorney, who apparently insisted on the hearing.

Another commenter, Katherine Darmer, a former U.S. Attorney quoted in this MLB article opined that Clemens "simply was not credible" and that he ought to prepare himself for the likelihood of perjury charges.

But not everyone expressed a similar position.  In the view of Tom Kirkendall of Houston's Clear Thinkers, McNamee, Clemens' former trainer (who made the allegations of drug use) "came across as such a manipulator that my sense is that it's doubtful that prosecutors would base a criminal case against Clemens primarily on McNamee's testimony."  At the same time, Kirkendall believes that the testimony probably hurt Clemens in the court of public opinion. 

Peter Henning of White Collar Crime Blog agrees that both McNamee and Clemens came across as less than truthful.   However, Henning does not believe that perjury charges would stand against Clemens (since a jury would not believe McNamee). 

So what was the purpose of the Congressional hearing?  In Scott Greenfield's view:

This was a perjury trap.  Someone was going to walk away under the cloud of perjury, whether it was Clemens or McNamee.  McNamee had the upper hand, having been far more practiced for the performance ahead of him by having had much more time and being far more inclined to be molded for the purpose of giving a good performance.

Do you have any thoughts on the likely outcome of all of this?

Posted by Carolyn Elefant on February 14, 2008 at 03:16 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)


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