Roger Clemens acquitted of all charges

June 18, 2012

The Washington Post on June 18, 2012 released the following:

“By Ann E. Marimow and Del Quentin Wilber

Legendary pitcher Roger Clemens was found not guilty Monday of all charges in the government’s perjury case against him.

Over seven weeks of testimony in the case against Clemens, jurors heard from more than 40 witnesses, including former major league ballplayers, a housekeeper, the general manager of the New York Yankees and the wife of the star pitcher. The trial, initially anticipated to last four to six weeks, was at times slow going, with two jurors dismissed for sleeping on the job.

Deliberations began Tuesday, but jurors were off on Thursday and Friday.

The baseball legend was on trial for a second time, charged with six counts of perjury, making false statements and obstructing Congress for denying in 2008 that he had ever taken steroids or human growth hormone. A House panel was following up on a 2007 report by former senator George Mitchell that connected dozens of ballplayers, including Clemens, to performance-enhancing drugs.

Clemens told Congressional staffers and lawmakers in a nationally televised hearing that his former strength coach Brian McNamee had injected him with liquid vitamin B 12 and the painkiller lidocaine – not steroids or human growth hormone. But McNamee told the same House committee that he injected the seven-time Cy Young Award winner with the banned substances on several occasions in 1998, 2000 and 2001.

Defense attorneys portrayed Clemens as a man who was unfairly pursued by a huge team of investigators and prosecutors for four and a half years. Despite more than 200 interviews and the work of more than 90 federal agents, Clemens’s attorney emphasized that McNamee, a man with a troubled past, was the only person to testify to firsthand knowledge of the ballplayer’s alleged use of performance-enhancing drugs. Clemens’s highly decorated 24-year career was the result of hard work and discipline, not drugs, his lawyers said.

Prosecutors responded that it was unremarkable to find just one witness to what they described as Clemens’s “dirty little secret.” Government’s lawyers noted that not one of the defense’s witnesses had testified to seeing McNamee inject Clemens with vitamin B-12 or lidocaine. And they put on the stand several athletic trainers and team doctors who testified that McNamee would not have had access or the authority to inject the star pitcher with such substances in their team clubhouses.

The defense team spent considerable time attacking McNamee’s credibility, at one point putting his estranged wife on the witness stand to contradict the former strength coach’s testimony about why he kept needles, cotton balls and other medical waste from the alleged injections. The former strength coach admitted to having exaggerated, changed his story and lied to authorities in a 2001 criminal investigation into an alleged sexual assault.

But prosecutors said McNamee had little incentive to turn on his former employer whose cachet helped McNamee’s own business as a personal trainer. McNamee only decided to turn over the medical waste — stored in a MillerLite can and FedEx box, he said — after Clemens allowed a taped conversation that mentioned McNamee’s sick child to be aired on national television.

Perhaps the most dramatic moment of the trial came when Clemens’s former teammate and friend, Andy Pettitte, backed away from a critical element of the prosecution’s case. Pettitte, a star pitcher in his own right, initially told jurors that Clemens confided in him in 1999 or 2000 about using HGH to help with recovery. Pettitte had earlier told Congressional investigators the same story. But on cross-examination, Pettitte agreed with one of Clemens’s attorneys, Michael Attanasio, that there was a 50/50 chance he had misheard his friend.

Even before the trial began, many of the Washingtonians called to the Prettyman Courthouse for jury duty questioned the wisdom of the government investigating the use of performance-enhancing drugs in big league baseball. In interviews with the judge, many prospective jurors — including some selected for the panel — said that Congress should have been spending its time on weightier matters that affected more people.

In reaching a verdict, the panel of eight women and four men had to decide whether Clemens’s answers to questions from Congressional investigators and lawmakers were “material” or relevant to the work of committee “as distinguished from unimportant or trivial facts,” according to the lengthy jury instructions.

To find Clemens guilty of the obstruction charge, for instance, jurors had to unanimously agree that the all-star pitcher made at least one of 13 allegedly false or misleading statements on subjects including his use of vitamin B-12 and the circumstances of his wife’s injection of human growth hormone.

In July, during the pitcher’s first trial on the same charges, Walton declared a mistrial after just two days of testimony. But the judge subsequently decided not to dismiss the charges, allowing this year’s trial to proceed.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Arguments conclude in Roger Clemens perjury trial

June 13, 2012

CNN on June 12, 2012 released the following:

“By Paul Courson, CNN

Washington (CNN) — Dueling scientists, a former trainer, friends and family are among the witnesses whose testimony a jury will consider as they decide if famed baseball pitcher Roger Clemens lied to Congress during an investigation of steroid use among major league players.

The case against Clemens involves one count of obstruction of Congress, three counts of making false statements and two counts of perjury. He is not charged with illicit use of performance-enhancing drugs, but his denial of such use is part of the case against him.

Federal prosecutor Courtney Saleski, in closing arguments Tuesday, told the jury Clemens “wanted to protect his brand, he wanted to protect his livelihood,” in denying the use of steroids during a 2008 investigation by the U.S. House of Representatives into the problem.

“He did that at the expense of our Congress. He threw sand in their eyes. He stole the truth from them,” Saleski said.

She said a guilty verdict would give that truth back to lawmakers.

The Clemens defense team disputed whether the government has made its case, telling the jury all the evidence came through a former personal trainer, Brian McNamee, who had incentive to lie.

“You saw Brian McNamee, the only witness in the history of the world who says he gave or saw an injection of that man,” said defense attorney Michael Attanasio. “One person in the entire world.” During closing arguments, the defense cited the lack of corroborating witnesses, which they said would be a basis for reasonable doubt against any conviction.

“McNamee defines reasonable doubt,” Attanasio said, because of perceived inconsistencies, retractions and corrections he made while testifying.

After verbally providing instructions to the jury late Tuesday, U.S. District judge Reggie Walton sent the jury back to begin deliberations, while acknowledging they may only have time to select a foreperson before letting them go for the day.

The trial has run longer than envisioned, and one juror was moved to alternate status Tuesday because of a fellowship in Germany for which he must depart next week. An alternate was then sent back to join the others.

It took about eight weeks for the prosecution and defense to question 46 witnesses, and the most direct conflict came among expert witnesses as to how to interpret a collection of discarded medical items that allegedly link Clemens to steroid use.

Soiled medical wrappings, cotton balls, drug vials and hypodermic needles that McNamee kept were interpreted differently by both sides. Witnesses for the government said genetic material linked with Clemens suggested it was impossible for McNamee to fabricate the evidence.

But defense witnesses on the same topic said storage in a beer can for years allowed commingling and contamination of materials, making reliable conclusions impossible, and the evidence nearly worthless.

“If you have garbage at the start, you’ll have garbage at the end,” said defense expert witness Dr. Bruce Goldberger, who said his lab would refuse to test such materials without a solid basis for their storage and handling before analysis.

Prosecution witness Dr. Cynthia Morris-Kukoski, an FBI toxicologist, said it is not up to the toxicology lab to make judgments about the materials submitted for testing, with their job only to determine the substances and any genetic identifiers involved.

Former teammate and friend Mike Boddicker testified as to whether Clemens had ever accepted injections, providing an eyewitness account that he had. “I think it was either 1989 or 1990,” Boddicker said, referring to their time together with the Boston Red Sox, describing that he “came into the training room, and saw Roger bent over the table with his pants down, getting a shot.”

The vial, Boddicker said, was clearly marked “B-12” a substance said to provide a pick-me-up after a game or workout.

This is the second trial for Clemens. A year ago, a mistrial was declared before the case reached the jury. The government’s lawyers played video evidence the judge had already banned. Prosecutors said it was an editing mistake, but the Clemens defense team suggested prosecutors were unprepared and had gotten off to a bad start.

“This was a mistake, a regretful mistake,” government attorney David Goodhand said in September in arguing for a new trial. But Walton blasted prosecutors for letting inadmissible evidence be shown.

“I would hate to believe they just blatantly disregarded rulings that I made, but it’s hard for me to reach any other conclusion,” Walton said, before rejecting a defense request that he dismiss the indictment entirely. After consideration, Walton then ordered the new trial.

Several pretrial hearings this time included protests from defense attorneys that the prosecution was trying to take advantage of having heard the initial opening statement last summer by the defense. In the latest trial, defense attorneys expressed concern that prosecutors were trying to “do over” certain efforts the defense may have refuted.

Deliberations Wednesday were set to begin at 1:30 p.m.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

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————————————————————–

To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Clemens trial about lying, not baseball: prosecutors

June 12, 2012

Chicago Tribune on June 12, 2012 released the following:

“Lily Kuo
Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Federal prosecutors in the perjury trial of former pitching ace Roger Clemens urged jurors on Tuesday to use common sense and not to fall for the “entangled web of lies” he weaved to protect his reputation.

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, which was investigating drug use in Major League Baseball.

Prosecutors made closing arguments as jurors prepared to begin deliberations after nearly two months of testimony.

“What is this case about?” Assistant U.S. Attorney Gilberto Guerrero asked. “This case is not about Roger Clemens’ greatness. It is about (him) lying…to protect his legacy.”

Clemens, who won 354 regular-season games and is a record seven-time winner of the yearly Cy Young Award as best pitcher, is among the biggest names implicated in drug use in baseball.

The defense has worked to portray Clemens as a hard worker whose stunning late-career success was the product of dedication and smart pitching, not performance-enhancing drugs.

Defense lawyers will make closing statements and the jury will begin deliberating later Tuesday or Wednesday morning on what they have heard from 46 witnesses in the nine-week trial.

Guerrero outlined the government’s charges against Clemens, including obstruction of Congress, making a false statement and perjury, and appealed to jurors to use their common sense.

He argued against attacks on the testimony of Brian McNamee, the prosecution’s key witness and Clemens’ former trainer, who said he injected Clemens with anabolic steroids and human growth hormone between 1998 and 2001.

Clemens’ lawyers have worked to paint McNamee as a liar who obtained immunity in exchange for his testimony.

“We’re not asking you to like Brian McNamee. … Brian McNamee did a lot of things that weren’t nice … but Roger Clemens is the one who chose Brian McNamee to inject him with steroids and HGH,” Guerrero told the jury.

He also highlighted inconsistencies in defense witnesses from Clemens’s wife, Debbie, who testified that she had received an injection of human growth hormone from McNamee in 2000.

New York Yankees’ pitcher Andy Pettitte testified earlier in the trial that Clemens, a former teammate, told Pettitte in 1999 or 2000 that he had taken human growth hormone but, years later, said he had been referring to his wife’s use of the drug.

Guerrero pointed to physical evidence prosecutors have presented, medical waste which they say contain Clemens DNA and traces of steroids. Defense attorneys have argued that blood and pus on two cotton balls and a small number of cells on a needle, could have been fabricated.

“That’s totally illogical. There’s no way in the world someone could fabricate that,” Guerrero said, echoing the testimony of a government forensic scientist.

McNamee testified that he kept needles, cotton balls, a broken steroid ampoule and other medical waste from injections for Clemens. He turned the evidence in to authorities in 2008.

Clemens won his final Cy Young Award in 2004, the summer he turned 42, in his first season with the Houston Astros.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

————————————————————–

To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Debbie Clemens to back up husband on HGH shot

June 8, 2012

Associated Press on June 8, 2012 released the following:

“By FREDERIC J. FROMMER
Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — “My heart’s pounding,” Debbie Clemens said just before she walked into a federal courtroom to take the stand in her husband’s perjury trial.

Lawyers on both sides of the Roger Clemens case are ready for key testimony from her about her husband’s alleged use of human growth hormone as the defense nears the end of its case.

Debbie Clemens, who spent only 15 minutes on the stand Thursday fielding background questions before court recessed for the day, was to get to the crux of her testimony Friday. She was expected to say that she received a shot of HGH from Clemens’ then-strength coach, Brian McNamee, about 12 years ago, and that her husband wasn’t present.

McNamee, the government’s key witness, testified last month that not only was the star baseball pitcher there, he had summoned McNamee to the couple’s master bathroom in Houston to give Debbie Clemens the drug.

McNamee said she looked at her husband and said, “I can’t believe you’re going to let him do this to me,” and Clemens responded, “He injects me. Why can’t he inject you?”

Clemens is charged with lying to Congress when he denied using performance-enhancing drugs. Among the false statement he’s alleged to have made are that he never used HGH and that McNamee injected his wife without Clemens’ prior knowledge or approval.

Wearing a cream-colored suit, Debbie Clemens told U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton that she was being represented by her husband’s lawyer, Rusty Hardin. Walton gave her a few minutes to talk to Hardin about her right not to incriminate herself, after which she came back and said she was ready to testify.

Hardin earlier had told Walton that the HGH injection happened so long ago that the statute of limitations would bar charges against her now.

Debbie Clemens testified briefly Thursday about the couple’s time in Boston, where her husband pitched for the Red Sox from 1984 to 1996. She recalled that son Koby, born in 1986, was dubbed “most valuable baby” because his father was MVP that year.

For the benefit of the jury, Walton asked her what MVP meant.

“Most valuable baby,” she said, prompting laughter in the courtroom – including a rare laugh from her husband across the room. She quickly corrected her answer to most valuable player.

She also said that while she liked Boston, “the media could be very miserable. It was hard living a hero and a villain every other day, what they were creating.”

After the court recessed, Roger Clemens came up behind his wife in the hallway and put his arm around her.

Earlier Thursday, McNamee’s wife, Eileen, testified, but there was no embrace waiting for her, as the couple is going through a contentious divorce. She said she was furious with both her husband and Clemens when the former pitcher’s lawyers allowed details of the McNamees’ oldest son’s diabetes to be revealed during a 2008 nationally televised news conference.

The news conference was part of a media blitz during which Clemens denied the doping allegations McNamee made about the pitcher in the then-just-released Mitchell Report on drugs in baseball. Hardin and Clemens played a taped phone call in which McNamee told Clemens, “My son is dying.”

That wasn’t true, Eileen McNamee said, although she had left her husband a message around that time about blood test results that weren’t what they were supposed to be.

“Brian didn’t bother to call me back. He called Roger and told him his son was dying,” she testified.

Then her 10-year-old son heard the news conference, and “now my son thinks he’s dying.”

Prosecutor Courtney Saleski said Clemens could have kept the information about her son out of the news conference, but instead, “he played it for the world.”

“Yes, he did,” Eileen McNamee said. She acknowledged that she called her husband and told him to go after Clemens.

The next day, around 3 a.m., Brian McNamee retrieved the evidence that he said had been kept in and around a beer can inside a FedEx box for more than six years, the remnants of an alleged steroids injection of Clemens in 2001, which is the key physical evidence against Clemens.

“I asked him where he was going, and he said he was heading to his lawyers, and he was out the door,” she recalled.

Brian McNamee had testified that he decided to turn over the evidence to federal authorities against Clemens “because of what he did to my son.””

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

————————————————————–

To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


An aggressive, all-out defense

June 6, 2012

ESPN on June 6, 2012 released the following:

“By Lester Munson

WASHINGTON — It would be easy for Roger Clemens and his legal team to poke a few holes in the evidence against him and then argue to the jury that federal prosecutors have failed to meet the Constitution’s requirement of proof “beyond a reasonable doubt.” If they managed to convince one or two jurors, they could hope for a deadlock in the jury’s deliberations and a mistrial and a technical victory.

That is not what they are doing. As they presented their 14th witness on Tuesday, they were in the middle of a massive effort that seeks nothing less than the total destruction of the government’s effort and a not-guilty-on-all-counts verdict that will vindicate Clemens and begin to restore his legacy as one of baseball’s greatest pitchers.

It’s a highly unusual strategy. There was enough doubt about the government’s evidence after the four-day cross-examination of the prosecutors’ star witness, Brian McNamee, that many defense lawyers would have concluded their efforts and relied on the jury to find the necessary “reasonable doubt.” McNamee confessed to numerous lies, mistakes and exaggerations, the kinds of admissions that most defense lawyers agree are enough to persuade one or more dubious jurors to hold out for a not guilty verdict.

But lead Clemens attorney Rusty Hardin’s cross-examination of McNamee was only the beginning, not the end, of the defense effort.

Relying on a high school teammate, retired ballplayers, expert witnesses, a housekeeper, two masseuses, a broadcaster, and even an FBI agent, Hardin is offering answers to every element of the government’s charges against Clemens. And there is more to come. Hardin says he’ll finish his presentation of as many as 21 witnesses on Friday, and when he is done, it promises be an impressive accumulation of evidence.

Here’s a look at how the Clemens lawyers have responded so far to the government’s charges that Clemens lied to Congress when he denied that he had ever used steroids or HGH.

At the center of the government’s case is a trove of syringes, cotton balls, vials, and ampoules that McNamee claims he used to inject Clemens with performance-enhancing drugs. McNamee gathered the physical evidence after injecting Clemens in August 2001, stored it in a beer can and a FedEx box in his house, and finally turned it in to the government in January 2008. The prosecutors used an FBI expert and a forensic scientist from a private lab to show that Clemens’ DNA was present on some of the materials.

On Tuesday afternoon, Bruce Goldberger, a Ph.D. forensic toxicologist who is the founder and director of a lab at the University of Florida, explained to the jury that the physical evidence did not meet the standards that apply to the collection and preservation of physical evidence.

Goldberger’s testimony came after a vigorous and extended argument from Asst. U.S. Attorney Daniel Butler, who insisted to U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton that Goldberger was not qualified to offer expertise on the collection of evidence and was qualified only to examine substances (blood, urine, drugs) in his laboratory. Clearly impressed with Goldberger and his knowledge of evidence collection, Walton allowed Hardin to present the expert to the jury.

Commingling the cotton balls, the syringes, and the other materials in what may have been a damp beer can, Goldberger said, leads to the possibility of “cross-contamination” and precludes the connection of any of the materials to anyone.

Speaking calmly and persuasively in what was the most powerful testimony in the entire trial, Goldberger told the jury that “the possibility of contamination leads to unreliable laboratory conclusions” and “there must be certainty beyond a reasonable doubt before we can make the scientific connection” between the material and an individual.

In the course of Goldberger’s testimony, the language of the trial was transformed with words like “manipulation” and “fabrication” and “garbage” suddenly being used in connection with materials the prosecutors had described as “medical waste.”

Goldberger told the jury that the material was doubly suspicious because it had been “collected and preserved by the accuser.” Hardin was soon referring to McNamee as the “accuser-collector.”

Butler’s cross-examination of Goldberger did not help as he quarreled with Goldberger about his qualifications and picked at him with questions about the “back story” of a piece of evidence. Butler succeeded only in allowing Hardin to come back with a question that prompted Goldberger to conclude that the physical evidence was the worst Goldberger had seen in 30 years of working with trial evidence.

On another central issue in the trial, Hardin has managed to suggest something that seemed totally unlikely ballplayers’ use injections of Vitamin B12 the way most of us use aspirin or Tylenol. Clemens, in what once seemed to be a weak response to allegations that he had been injected with steroids, claimed that the injections were B12.

Former pitcher Mike Boddicker told the jury that B12 injections were common during his 13 years in the big leagues and that he once walked into the Boston Red Sox training room and was surprised to see Clemens with his pants down being injected in the buttocks with B12. Boddicker, another charming and engaging witness for the defense, told the jury that he could see “B12” on the vial on the training table.

Like the other MLB players that Hardin and Clemens have presented, Boddicker seemed to capture the attention of the jury with his stories that he survived in the big leagues for 13 years with an 84-mph fastball and that he was once traded from the Baltimore Orioles to the Red Sox for Brady Anderson and Curt Schilling.

Prosecutor Steven Durham tried to cross-examine Boddicker by raising the well-known, unwritten law of an MLB clubhouse that what happens in the clubhouse stays in the clubhouse. It was supposed to show that Boddicker would skew his testimony to help Clemens. But, instead, it opened the door for Hardin to return with Boddicker’s report that Clemens would frequently leave the clubhouse in uniform to visit children in Boston hospitals and that he insisted that his teammates tell no one, especially media, about it.

The enormous Clemens-Hardin effort clearly has the prosecutors scrambling. In his attempt to prepare for Goldberger’s testimony, Butler was on the phone with Goldberger on Tuesday morning, only hours before Goldberger appeared before the jury. To prepare for Boddicker’s testimony, the prosecutors sent an FBI agent to interview him on Sunday before his Tuesday appearance.

The defense strategy is proactive, and it is aggressive. It fits what we know of the Clemens way of doing things. It’s working now, but as another great ballplayer said, “It ain’t over ’til it’s over.””

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

————————————————————–

To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Edwards Verdict Shows Clemens Need Not Fear Taint Of Reputation

June 4, 2012

Bloomberg on June 3, 2012 released the following:

“By David Glovin

Jurors tend to look past a criminal defendant’s reputation, no matter how odious, to render verdicts based on fact and law, lawyers said after former presidential candidate John Edwards won an acquittal and mistrial last week.

Federal jurors in Greensboro, North Carolina, on May 31 acquitted Edwards of one charge of using illegal campaign contributions to hide an extramarital affair and couldn’t decide about five other counts. They did so after hearing evidence that Edwards cheated on his dying wife and lied to the public about fathering a child with his paramour.

The verdict sends an encouraging signal to Roger Clemens, the former Major League Baseball pitcher now on trial in Washington for lying to Congress about his use of steroids, said Douglas Godfrey, a professor who teaches criminal law at Chicago-Kent College of Law.

“While we would all acknowledge that Edwards and Clemens are not nice guys and they behaved in very bad ways, that’s not the same as violating the law,” Godfrey said in a telephone interview. “Just because you’re an arrogant SOB or philanderer, that’s not the same as committing a crime.”

Edwards’s acquittal and mistrial came 11 months after a Florida jury acquitted Casey Anthony, an Orlando mother accused of killing her 2-year-old daughter, and 22 years after a New York City jury rendered a not guilty verdict in the racketeering case of Imelda Marcos, the former Philippines first lady ridiculed for owning more than 1,000 pair of shoes. In those cases and others, public opinion had turned so harshly against the defendants that a conviction seemed almost an afterthought.

Then the jury weighed in.

Jury Speaks

“It’s a great affirmation of our jury system that people like Casey Anthony and John Edwards, who are personally unlikable and in many ways despicable, can still sit in front of a jury of 12 people and have those 12 people judge them based on the evidence,” said Marc Mukasey, a former federal prosecutor who is now in private practice at Bracewell & Giuliani LLP.

Edwards, a former Democratic U.S. senator from North Carolina and presidential contender in 2008, was accused of violating campaign finance laws by accepting almost $1 million from multimillionaire heiress Rachel “Bunny” Mellon and Fred Baron, a now-deceased trial attorney, to conceal an affair. The case marked the first time the government prosecuted someone for campaign violations when money was paid to a third party.

Jurors deliberated for nine days before reaching their partial verdict. They couldn’t agree on counts that included a claim that Edwards conspired to protect his candidacy by secretly soliciting and accepting the funds and causing his campaign to file false reports with the Federal Election Commission.

He’s unlikely to be retried, a person familiar with the matter said last week.

Adultery, Arrogance

Except for the defendants’ notoriety — Edwards for adultery and Clemens for arrogance — the two cases have few similarities, said Stefan Passantino, who heads the political law team at McKenna Long & Aldridge in Washington. Lying to Congress, which Clemens is accused of, is a far more established crime than the conduct for which Edwards was on trial, he said.

Still, both defendants have had to confront the prospect that jurors would convict because of their reputations. The Edwards jury didn’t, in part because defense lawyers shifted the focus to ex-campaign aide Andrew Young, who acted as a go- between on transactions involving Mellon and Baron and used some of their money to build his own $1.5 million home.

Defense attorney Abbe Lowell also addressed the character issue head-on.

‘Moral Wrongs’

“John Edwards may have committed many moral wrongs but he did not commit a legal one,” Lowell told jurors during his closing argument. “He was a bad husband and lied to his family but there is not a remote chance that he violated campaign finance laws or committed a felony.”

Marcellus McRae, a former federal prosecutor who is now at Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP in Los Angeles, said jurors were attentive enough to the case’s nuances to see past Edwards’s reputation.

“Perceptions about personalities don’t govern verdicts,” he said. “In Edwards, personality didn’t rule.”

While Clemens is a seven-time Cy Young Award winner as the best pitcher in his league, he also ranks 14th in Major League Baseball for hitting 159 batters with pitches during his career.

Hurled Bat

Lawyers for Clemens, whose reputation for abrasiveness grew after he hurled a bat at an opposing player and because of his performance before Congress, have been taking a page from Edwards’s book. The ex-pitcher’s defense has been focused on tearing down the credibility of the government’s only eyewitness, Brian McNamee, Clemens’s former trainer.

McNamee testified he gave Clemens injections of steroids and human-growth hormone.

Clemens’s lawyer, Rusty Hardin, got McNamee to admit he’d lied to federal investigators and accused him of alcohol abuse and engaging in a fraudulent scheme to obtain diet pills.

“The facts are very different, the personalities are different,” Robert Mintz, a former federal prosecutor who’s now a partner with McCarter & English LLP in Newark, New Jersey, said of the Clemens and Edwards cases.

‘Positive Message’

“But if there’s any positive message that Clemens can draw out of the Edwards verdict, it’s that jurors will look beyond whatever antipathy they may feel regarding their personal conduct and do their best to make a decision based solely on the facts and law presented to them at the trial,” Mintz said in a telephone interview.

Jacob Frenkel, a former Securities and Exchange Commission lawyer who is now with Shulman Rogers Gandal Pordy & Ecker PA in Potomac, Maryland, said it’s proven lying, and not reputation, that puts many celebrity defendants behind bars. He pointed to Martha Stewart, who was sentenced to six months in prison in 2004 for obstructing justice by lying to prosecutors, and baseball player Barry Bonds, the career home-run record-holder who was convicted last year of obstructing justice for deceiving a grand jury.

Clemens is accused of obstructing justice and perjury.

“It is the acts of lying or obstruction that often are the downfall,” Frankel said in a telephone interview.

It’s not only Clemens who may take comfort in the Edwards verdict, said Michael Kendall, a partner at McDermott Will & Emery in Boston and a former federal prosecutor. In New York, Rajat Gupta, who was once a director of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) and who ran McKinsey & Co. from 1994 to 2003, is defending against charges that he leaked inside information to hedge fund co-founder Raj Rajaratnam.

Public Hostility

If Edwards could win an acquittal, so might Gupta, even amid public hostility to bankers and Wall Street in the wake of the 2007 financial crisis, he said.

“There are a thousand ways to derail a prosecution,” Kendall said in a telephone interview. “There’s an incredible common sense in collective good judgment in the jury system.”

The Edwards case is U.S. v. Edwards, 11-cr-161, U.S. District Court, Middle District of North Carolina (Greensboro). The Clemens case is U.S. v. Clemens, 10-cr-223, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington). The Gupta case is U.S. v. Gupta, 11-cr-907, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

————————————————————–

To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Roger Clemens trial: Federal prosecutors rest their perjury case

May 30, 2012

The Washington Post on May 29, 2012 released the following:

“By Del Quentin Wilber and Ann E. Marimow

Federal prosecutors on Tuesday rested their perjury case against retired baseball star Roger Clemens, having elicited testimony from 24 witnesses — on topics ranging from performance-enhancing drugs and vitamin injections to a “booty shot” and a crumpled beer can.

The trial already has gone far longer than the four to six weeks prosecutors estimated when they began picking jurors on April 16. Since then, a parade of witnesses — ranging from New York Yankees pitcher and former teammate Andy Pettitte and athletic trainers to a colorful steroid dealer and forensic experts — have testified about Clemens, his career and whether he took steroids or human growth hormone. Prosecutors allege Clemens lied when he denied to Congress in 2008 that he had never taken performance-enhancing drugs.

Clemens has challenged those allegations and his lawyers began presenting their case to jurors Tuesday that the pitcher became a superstar by working hard, not taking drugs. Their first witness, a high school teammate of the future “Rocket,” testified that Clemens trained so intensely that he blazed a trail in the outfield grass while doing running drills.

Another defense witness, a college teammate, described Clemens’s “diligent, disciplined” routine. “Roger had made up his mind he was going to be successful,” said Mike Capel. “He worked extremely, extremely hard to earn everything he had.”

Defense lawyers have indicated they expect to present seven or eight days of evidence to jurors. One of those witnesses might be Clemens’s wife, Debbie, who is expected to testify that she took human growth hormone, not her husband.

Before resting their case, federal prosecutors called a financial consultant to testify in the hopes of buttressing the credibility of Brian McNamee, Clemens’s former strength coach. McNamee, a key but troubled witness, has alleged he injected Clemens with steroids or human growth hormone in 1998, 2000 and 2001. The financial consultant, Anthony Corso, was also one of McNamee’s clients and testified that the strength coach told him in 2002 or 2003 that Clemens had used human growth hormone to help him recover from workouts.

Corso also testified that McNamee told him in 2005 that he had kept syringes from injections he gave ballplayers so the strength coach would not “get thrown under the bus.” McNamee added that he kept the syringes in a beer can that he put in a box, the financial consultant testified.

Corso testified that he worked out with McNamee from 2002 through 2007 and took growth hormone on McNamee’s recommendation.

McNamee turned over the beer can and box of medical waste to authorities in 2008. Forensic scientists have testified that Clemens’s DNA and steroids were discovered on a needle found in the box — but outside the beer can. The pitcher’s DNA also was discovered on bloody cotton swabs in the can, an expert said. Clemens’s lawyers have assailed the evidence as “garbage” and argued that it could have been contaminated.

The pitcher’s lawyers scored a minor legal victory when U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton agreed to dismiss two of 15 acts that constitute a charge of obstruction of Congress. Even so, jurors only must find that he committed one of those remaining 13 acts to convict him of that charge. Walton declined to dismiss any of the other five charges of perjury or making false statements.

In other developments, a third juror was dismissed from the panel because her mother died last week. That leaves 12 jurors and one alternate to finish out a trial that has already reached extra innings.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

————————————————————–

To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.