Sports Illustrated legal analyst Michael McCann joined the Dennis & Callahan show to talk about the perjury trial of former Red Sox star Roger Clemens, who allegedly lied to Congress when he said he never used performance-enhancing drugs while playing, that begins this week with jury selection and opening statements by both sides. Those proceedings will be key in the way the public learns about how the Clemens legal team expects to defend its client, according to McCann.
"I suspect it's going to be a mix of going after [former Clemens trainer] Brian McNamee and saying, 'This guy is not trustworthy,' going after Andy Pettitte and saying, 'He's trustworthy but he's misremembering what happened,' and going after the physical evidence and saying, 'It's all from Brian McNamee. How can you trust it?' So those are going to be the key arguments for Clemens."
In fact, McCann went on to say that he thought the most important person in the trial may not be Clemens himself but rather McNamee, who could make or break the case for either side once it heads to trial.
"If Clemens's lawyers can portray him as an opportunist, a liar, all of these negative associations, and in truth, he has done some questionable things in his past. Brian McNamee is not by any means an ideal witness. He may be telling the truth now but in the past apparently he wasn't telling the truth. I really think it's going to come down to how well he testifies. The cross-examination of McNamee could be the most pivotal moment in the trial. If the cross reveals him to be inconsistent, questionable with dubious ethics, I think Clemens has an excellent chance of winning. If though Brian McNamee performs as he did before Congress, which was very good, I think there's a very good chance Clemens will be convicted. Because if the jury believes McNamee with help from Andy Pettitte, who he says Clemens told him he used steroids or HGH, it's going to be tough for Clemens to win. Those two witnesses, McNamee and Pettitte, they're going to be the deciding factors."
If Clemens is convicted on charges that he lied to Congress about not using performance-enhancers, he could face jailtime of 15-21 months, according to McCann, however that number could change a bit.
"That's the recommendation from the sentencing guidelines," McCann said. "Now [U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton] could deviate from that. He could say, 'Well, Clemens is really unapologetic. I don't like him. Let's give him a stronger sentence. Let's really send a message.' Or he could find Clemens more appealing for whatever reason and give him a shorter sentence. But the targeted range is 15-21 months. Now if he's only convicted of one or two counts, then Walton will likely assign a much shorter sentence. It's possible he could assign home confinement which is what Barry Bonds, there's a good shot that's what he'll get ultimately. So it really will depend on the extent to which he's convicted. There could fines involved as well. He could be not guilty and sent free. It could be a hung jury. He could be retried."