WASHINGTON – A baseball announcer testified Tuesday that he saw Roger Clemens at a golf course on the day in 1998 that prosecutors say Clemens attended a pool party at Jose Canseco's south Florida house.
Joe Angel, who was a broadcaster with the Florida Marlins at the time, said he saw Clemens around the pro shop at the Weston Hills Country Club between around 8:30 a.m. and 9 a.m. on June 9, 1998. That same day, Canseco hosted a pool party for players. Clemens testified at his congressional deposition in 2008 that he didn't attend the party, which the government says is one of the false statements he made to Congress.
Clemens is charged with lying to Congress when he denied taking steroids or human growth hormone.
The former pitcher has long maintained that he played golf on the day of the party, and defense lawyers called Angel, now an announcer for the Baltimore Orioles, to back up that assertion.
U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton said last week he was considering dropping the allegation that Clemens lied about the Canseco party because it might not be material to the overall case. But on Tuesday, the judge indicated the jury would have to assess whether the issue was material to the congressional investigation on performance-enhancing drugs in baseball.
Also Tuesday, former pitcher Mike Boddicker, a teammate of Clemens with the Boston Red Sox for 2 ½ years from 1988 to 1990, recalled seeing Clemens get a vitamin B12 shot. Prosecutors say that Clemens' claim that he had received B12 injections was a cover story for steroids.
"I saw the vial," Boddicker said. "It said B12."
The government might have made a minor tactical mistake in cross-examining Boddicker, when prosecutor Steve Durham asked if there were secrets in the clubhouse. That opened the door to defense attorney Rusty Hardin to ask Boddicker if Clemens did anything privately that he didn't want the public to know about.
Yes, Boddicker said. Clemens would leave in uniform to see kids in the hospital.
Walton also said that one of the jurors has an obligation to leave for Germany on June 19 for six months. He questioned whether the case would be over by then, but with only one alternate juror left, decided to keep the juror on for now.
"I think the schedule's going to take care of it," Hardin said.
But Walton said that it's difficult to predict how long jury deliberations will take.
"The (John) Edwards case took eight or nine days," he said. "If that happens here, we're in real trouble."
On Monday, Walton almost made it sound like he was doing Clemens' lawyers a favor when he ruled that they can't call Rep. Darrell Issa as a witness.
Issa "might bury your client," Walton warned Clemens' lawyers. "If I was in your all shoes, I would be very loath to call him."
And they won't get that chance after Walton's ruling Monday.
Issa, a California Republican, is chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, the panel that Clemens allegedly lied to in 2008 when he denied taking performance-enhancing drugs.
Issa wasn't chairman at the time, and he had criticized the committee for holding the hearing on drugs in baseball. Defense lawyers hoped his testimony would help call into question the hearing's legitimacy and sent a subpoena to the committee to try to compel his appearance as a witness.
Walton said defense lawyers would be making a "death wish" in calling Issa, after prosecutor Steve Durham pointed out the congressman's comment after the 2008 hearing that he didn't doubt that Clemens had perjured himself.
Lawyers for the committee had filed a motion to quash the subpoena. They said Issa's appearance at the trial should be barred under the Constitution's speech or debate clause, which protects elected officials from being questioned in a lawsuit about their legislative work.
In granting that motion, Walton said he didn't have to invoke the speech or debate clause. He said that relying on Issa to make comments criticizing the hearing again on the stand amounted to speculation. The judge said that if he did allow Issa to testify, he would have to let the government call other lawmakers who supported the hearing — dragging out the trial that's already in its eighth week.
"You'd end up with a swearing match," Walton said.
Clemens lawyers were more interested in Issa because of his comments as a rank-and-file member of the committee in 2008 than because of his current post as chairman. Defense filings noted that back then, Issa was quoted as saying the hearings smacked of the tactics of the infamous former Sen. Joseph McCarthy, who hauled people before his committee looking for Communists.
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