Roger Clemens Found Not Guilty; Trial Loss a Major Blow to Federal Government

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Judge declares mistrial in Roger Clemens perjury case
Former Major League Baseball pitcher Roger Clemens, right, and his attorney Rusty Hardin outmaneuvered the government.

Former Major League Baseball player Roger Clemens was found not guilty of all charges by a federal jury in Washington, D.C., on Monday afternoon.

A jury unanimously found Clemens not guilty of the six charges against him after a day and a half of deliberations. It was a result of a two-month trial and five-year investigation that cost the federal government $10,548,772, according to CNBC reporter Darren Rovell, yet netted a disappointing result.

Clemens was charged with one count of obstruction of Congress, three counts of making false statements, and two counts of perjury for a testimony he made regarding steroid use among baseball players.

After the verdict was announced, Clemens reportedly hugged his family and admitted to reporters that the long investigation had been difficult to deal with.

It has been a hard five years, Clemens told reporters about the investigation and subsequent trial. I appreciate the people who came in to speak on my behalf.

The former Boston Red Sox and New York Yankee pitcher denied ever taking steroids in congressional testimony in 2008, despite Brian McNamee, a former trainer, testifying that he injected Clemens with anabolic steroids in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Clemens has publicly admitted that McNamee did inject him with liquid vitamin B 12 and the painkiller lidocaine, but denied ever being injected with anabolic steroids.

McNamee's testimony led the government to pursue a trial against Clemens in 2011, but the trial was stopped almost immediately after an error forced the judge to declare a mistrial. The prosecution regrouped to pursue Clemens in 2012, but somehow failed to prove he was guilty of lying about his steroid use, despite McNamee's first-hand account.

The former trainer was billed as the prosecution's star witness, but Clemens's defense attorney Rusty Hardin did a nice job of pointing out inconsistencies in McNamee's testimony. He deftly maneuvered around the prosecution's evidence of bloody cotton balls that matched Clemens's DNA. He also managed to prove that McNamee was an unreliable witness that cooked the books to set up Clemens for a fall, according to the New York Times.

Part of that strategy included getting McNamee to admit that he exaggerated a story about an alleged sexual assault in 2001.

After the verdict, Hardin told reporters he hoped more people would believe a man when he claims to be innocent.

It got to where people thought arrogant a man saying, 'I didn't do it,' Hardin told reporters outside of the courthouse. Hopefully, when a man says he didn't do it, (people) will start giving him the benefit of the doubt.

The victory for Clemens and his legal team represents another major embarrassment for the government. In addition to the two botched trials against Clemens, federal prosecutors have also waged unsuccessful cases against Barry Bonds, baseball's all-time home run leader, and Lance Armstrong, a seven-time Tour de France winner.

The government, including Congress, has shown a willingness to get involved with issues plaguing professional sports, but has shown ineptitude when it comes to delivering actual results.

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