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Baseball Great Clemens Goes On Trial For Perjury

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Baseball Great Clemens Goes On Trial For Perjury

Law

Baseball Great Clemens Goes On Trial For Perjury

Baseball Great Clemens Goes On Trial For Perjury

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The trial of Roger Clemens, one of baseball's most dominating pitchers, begins Wednesday in Washington, D.C. He is charged with perjury and obstruction of Congress. In 2008, during testimony on Capitol Hill, Clemens denied ever using performance enhancing drugs.

(SOUNDBITE OF CONGRESSIONAL HEARING)

ROGER CLEMENS: Let me be clear, I have never taken steroids or HGH.

: NPR sports correspondent Tom Goldman joins us. Good morning, Tom.

TOM GOLDMAN: Hi, Renee.

: I think it would be good to start with you reminding us how the Clemens' trial came about.

GOLDMAN: But if you remember the way he was on the mound, tough and snarly. And if someone crowded the plate, the next Clemens' pitch was coming at their chin. So figuratively speaking, Who then are some of the key people involved in the trial?

GOLDMAN: Now, other key testimony is expected from Clemens' former teammate and buddy, pitcher Andy Pettitte, who says Clemens admitted to him that he, Clemens, had used the banned human growth hormone. Pettitte admitted using that drug. But partly because of his admission, he's perceived publicly - and the government hopes by the jury, as well - as an honest guy.

: And another character in court is Clemens' lead attorney, Rusty Hardin, who has a reputation as quite a colorful personality.

GOLDMAN: Yeah.

: What kind of impact could he have on the trial?

GOLDMAN: He could have a big one. He's a highly-respected and successful lawyer from Texas who's well-known for his theatrics, and reportedly so engaging that juries have sent him thank you notes after rendering a verdict.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

GOLDMAN: The question is how much he can charm a D.C. jury that may not have as much tolerance as juries elsewhere in the country, for someone accused of lying to Congress.

: And Tom, this is the second trial in the past few months of a star player from what you might call baseball's steroids era. How would you compare the Roger Clemens case to the one involving Barry Bonds?

GOLDMAN: In both cases though, Renee, it's not the kind of career-ending images surrounded by lawyers and juries and judges that these guys probably envisioned.

: Tom, thanks very much.

GOLDMAN: You're welcome.

: We've been speaking with NPR's sports correspondent Tom Goldman.

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