I advised Clemens and his legal team before, during, and after the congressional hearing. Here is what I saw:
The most remarkable thing about Clemens is his physique. He is huge — his neck, thighs, arms, chest. Athletes who use steroids seem to shrink after they stop using; Clemens is as big as ever.
He works out obsessively. Every day, before or after trips to Capitol Hill or court, he would run and go to the gym. He talked about how, as a young pitcher, he figured out that Nolan Ryan got his power from his legs and became determined to train his way to an even faster fastball.
I have spent my career around people in trouble, and you can almost always tell when you're not getting the whole story. Never once did Clemens shade the facts or exhibit uncertainty. When asked if he would take a lie-detector test, he did not hesitate before answering yes in a room full of attorneys. He felt so strongly about his innocence that he insisted on writing his own opening statement for the hearing — never a good idea for an inexperienced witness on Capitol Hill.
Former teammate Andy Pettitte was always uncertain about his conversations with Clemens about human growth hormone. The transcripts of Pettitte's interview with congressional investigators show that he signed a more definitive affidavit only in a last-ditch effort to avoid testifying. And the credibility of the accuser, Brian McNamee, was not sufficiently explored. In court, Pettitte acknowledged a 50-50 chance that he misinterpreted Clemens; McNamee acknowledged lying; McNamee's wife contradicted key elements of his testimony; and supposedly damning DNA evidence was deemed the worst an expert had seen in 30 years of trials.
Clemens also had stellar pitching seasons beyond the years McNamee alleges he used steroids.
Clemens never tested positive for steroids, and nothing in his medical records indicates steroid use.
The Justice Department spent millions of dollars, with more than 90 federal agents interviewing 179 individuals and producing 235 interview reports, in a futile attempt to find somebody who gave HGH or steroids to Clemens. It found no one.
It's easy to see what happened: The congressional committee rushed a media-fueled hearing and panicked when Clemens actively asserted his innocence days beforehand. Lawmakers relied on thin testimony and referred Clemens to the Justice Department to save face. Inexplicably, prosecutors announced their intention to indict him before they even interviewed his chief accuser.
There was a massive rush to judgment by sports journalists, members of Congress, and Justice Department officials. Amid this hysteria, Clemens behaved exactly as would be expected of an innocent person: He professed his innocence without faltering, testified before a panel determined to break him, refused a plea bargain, and spent personal resources to defend himself. He steadfastly refused the easy path — admit fault, apologize, and move on — because he knew he didn't commit a crime.
What are the consequences of this trial by media beyond the wasted government resources? A man's reputation has been smeared beyond repair. Roger Clemens' legacy is tarnished forever, no matter what the jury says.
Patrick Dorton is a managing partner at the communications firm Rational 360 in Washington. He wrote this for the Washington Post.