As a defense lawyer I like to win trials. Given that in felony trials the State wins in front of the jury about 90% of the time, all defense lawyers who have their heart in the job relish a in.
Winning a high publicity trial is nirvana. Not only does a lawyer enjoy the win, he or she enjoys the win when the world is watching, and this usually results in big career advancement.
This is why I wish I represented Roger Clemens. Right now it looks like he will win his case. Of course there may be some big surprises in store in the future that will make the government’s case appear much stronger than it does now.
From what I understand Mr. Clemens is charged solely with lying while testifying before Congress about his alleged use of anabolic steroids and other performance enhancing drugs. This, in and of itself, is unusual. Rarely do defense lawyers see perjury charges in isolation of other charges. Usually the government charges someone with perjury in relation to other crimes the government alleges the defendant to have committed. In other words, the perjury charge is usually icing on the cake, not the cake.
Secondly, usually perjury charges involve two contradictory statements made under oath. In order to prove someone guilty of a perjury charge the government has to prove that someone knowingly lied. The best way to do that is to show irreconcilable sworn statements.
In this case, to my knowledge, the government’s evidence consists of Roger Clemens’ denial of using illegal substances under oath, and the statements of other witnesses that they either injected him with the illegal substance or that he admitted to them that he used an illegal substance. In addition there are syringes in the possession of the witness who gave him the injections that contain his blood. Finally, I believe there is arguably statistical evidence supporting a spike in Mr. Clemens’ performance that coincides with his alleged drug use.
Obviously the credibility of these witnesses is subject to attack. The man who asserts that he provided Mr. Clemens with the illegal substances himself was subject to prosecution.
Likely, the purity of the syringe/DNA evidence also will be subject to attack. Since those syringes were handed over to the government by a cooperating witnesses far after the fact, the defense will likely raise the possibility that this evidence was “manufactured.”
Mr. Clemens is represented by Rusty Hardin, a nationally well known trial lawyer from Houston. Although Mr. Hardin already has a formidable reputation, at this early stage it looks as if it will only be cemented by this prosecution.