The defense lawyers for Roger Clemens this morning asked a judge to strike key testimony from Andy Pettitte, who told jurors last week that Clemens once admitted to him, in a conversation more than a decade ago, that he used human growth hormone.
On the witness stand last week at Clemens' trial in Washington on perjury and obstruction charges, Pettitte was uncertain whether he clearly remembered the conversation with Clemens, which occurred in 1999 or 2000.
An attorney for Clemens, Michael Attanasio, asked Pettitte whether it was a 50-50 chance he might have misunderstood Clemens. "I'd say that's fair," Pettitte, a government witness, responded. Prosecutors on redirect examination didn't clear up Pettitte's current recollection of the conversation.
Clemens' attorneys today urged U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton to strike that portion of Pettite's testimony, saying in court papers filed this morning that jurors should not be allowed to consider an alleged admission that "has all the weight of a coin flip."
"The court should therefore strike the account of what Mr. Clemens might have said to Mr. Pettitte from the record and instruct the jury not to consider the 50/50 conversation for any purpose," Attanasio said.
The motion to strike Pettitte's testimony about his conversation with Clemens was not unexpected. Clemens' defense lawyers said they would seek to void that testimony. Walton asked the attorneys in the case to address legal issues associated with the admissibility of an admission.
The Clemens prosecutors haven't responded to the request to strike that piece of Pettitte's testimony, which was supposed to bolster the government's case that Clemens was lying in 2008 when he told a congressional committee that he never used performance enhancing drugs during his professional baseball career.
The trial in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia continues this morning. The lead FBI agent in the case, John Longmire, is expected to take the stand today for the government.
A central witness for the prosecution, Brian McNamee, a former strength trainer for Clemens, could testify as early as Tuesday. McNamee claims he has injected Clemens with performance enhancing drugs.