WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The judge in the perjury trial of former baseball pitching ace Roger Clemens on Monday denied a request from Clemens’ lawyers to order testimony from a prominent U.S. lawmaker who has questioned the legitimacy of a congressional investigation that led to Clemens trial.
Clemens, 49, is on trial for the second time on federal charges of lying in 2008 to the House of Representatives’ Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, a panel now chaired by Darrell Issa, a Republican from California.
The committee was investigating drug use in Major League Baseball.
The ruling was a blow for Clemens since Issa’s testimony may have bolstered his case by raising doubts about the purpose of the congressional hearings.
Last year, Issa, who was a member of the House committee in 2008, sharply criticized the handling of the hearings by then chairman Representative Henry Waxman, a Democrat from California. Issa accused Waxman of intending to entrap Clemens.
On Monday, U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton ruled that Issa’s testimony would only lead to a back and forth of testimony between prosecutors and Clemens’ lawyers, and that there was not enough evidence to prove Issa’s testimony was needed.
Walton said more testimony from both sides would also extend the trial, which has already entered its 8th week. Court proceedings began on April 16.
Prosecutors have sought to link Clemens to a batch of medical waste, syringes and cotton balls, that his former strength and conditioning coach, Brian McNamee, says came from an injection of performance-enhancing drugs in 2001.
McNamee claims he injected Clemens with steroids and human growth hormone in 1998, 2000 and 2001. Clemens has testified that McNamee injected him with vitamin B-12.
Clemens’ lawyers have tried to prove that the former pitcher’s stunning late-career success was the product of hard work and smart pitching, not performance-enhancing drugs.
Clemens won his seventh Cy Young Award in 2004 - the summer he turned 42 - in his first season with the Houston Astros, after ending the season with an impressive 2.98 earned run average.
Clemens’ first trial ended last year in a mistrial.
Reporting By Lily Kuo; editing by Dan Burns and Christopher Wilson