Roger Clemens Trial: Congressional Witnesses Testify As To Legitimacy Of Hearings

After years of discussion and analysis, the trial of Roger Clemens finally began in earnest on Wednesday as we had opening statements and the first few witnesses take the stand.

The opening statements were arguably the most interesting aspect of the morning. Both sides focused in on the expected testimony and related evidence from Brian McNamee. The government pointed to evidence of Clemens' DNA on needles and cotton balls while the defense set out their plan to paint Brian McNamee as an habitual liar amidst a case of the government going out of its way to take down Roger Clemens.

After completing opening statements, the government began presenting its case to the jury. They opened by calling Charles Johnson, who held the role of parliamentarian for the House of Representatives from 1994 to 2004. Johnson was brought on to help establish the legitimacy of the proceedings. He broke down the authority and customs of Congress and why such a hearing would be pertinent.

One of the major questions in regards to the hearings is the issue of subsequent legislation that may come from the hearings. Clemens defense attorney Rusty Hardin attempted to establish that the hearing was simply Congress butting into a private citizen's alleged use of a controlled substance. With no plan to even attempt to pass legislation, Hardin believes it was an improper use of power.

Following Johnson's testimony, the government began their direct examination of congressional staffer Phil Barnett. While Barnett did not finish the direct examination, he was able to testify as to the reasons behind the hearing and why it was necessary. Barnett testified on public health concerns following a CDC report on rising steroid use, adding that the Committee had actually considered legislation after the 2005 steroids hearing. He stated that Clemens was invited to testify before the Committee in the hearing and via deposition because he challenged the accuracy of the Mitchell Report.

The trial will resume Thursday morning with continued direct examination of Barnett.

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