WASHINGTON – Roger Clemens' victory in court should win over some of the fans who were previously convinced that the seven-time Cy Young Award winner used performance-enhancing drugs, according to his lawyer.
Rusty Hardin told The Associated Press that Clemens' reputation will always be tainted by drug-related allegations, even though a jury found the former pitcher not guilty of lying to Congress about steroids and human growth hormone.
Clemens adamantly denied using either substance at a 2008 congressional hearing and added that "no matter what we discuss here today, I'm never going to have my name restored."
Hardin said that's still the case.
"Roger is not naive," Hardin said in a telephone interview this week. "I was saying that if 85 percent thought he was guilty before, then this verdict might move the needle to 50 percent."
Clemens was exonerated on all six charges on June 18, capping a trial that lasted more than two months. The prosecution's case always appeared tenuous, relying heavily on the testimony of Clemens' former strength coach, Brian McNamee. McNamee testified he injected Clemens with steroids and HGH many times, but McNamee's story evolved over time, and there was no one else to claim firsthand knowledge of Clemens' drug use.
Hardin said the Clemens defense team met with five jurors after the trial. He said they told him that every vote taken was unanimous, leaving no doubt of the final outcome.
It was the second time the case had been brought to trial, with the first attempt last year ending in a mistrial when the jury was shown inadmissible evidence by prosecutors. U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton on Tuesday denied Clemens' request to be reimbursed for expenses related to the mistrial. Hardin declined to say how much Clemens was seeking — or how much the legal proceedings cost him — other than to say that the pitcher was charged a flat fee instead of being billed by the hour.
Hardin said Clemens is reticent to comment about the trial because of a pending defamation lawsuit filed by McNamee against Clemens in federal court in New York.
Clemens has maintained that he went to court to clear his name, not with the goal of getting into the baseball Hall of Fame.
"He told me if he had been a bachelor, he might have let it slide," Hardin said. "But he has a family, and he didn't want his four sons thinking that he had cheated his way to success."