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Prosecutor to Clemens jury: Use ‘common sense’

Jim Baumbach and Tom Brune, Newsday, Melville, N.Y. –

WASHINGTON — A prosecutor in the Roger Clemens perjury trial told the jury during closing arguments Tuesday to use “common sense” when deciding that the former Yankees star pitcher’s “cover stories” were a tangle of lies.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Gilberto Guerrero said Clemens made a choice to lie Congress four years ago when he denied using performance-enhancing drugs to protect his legacy – “his brand.”

“Roger Clemens had the opportunity to be a greater hero than he was before. He could have gone in there and told the truth. He chose not to,” Guerrero said. “Now it’s your turn to hold him accountable on every single count that will be before you.

“You are the final umpires here.”

The bulk of the defense’s case has been to attack the credibility of Clemens’ accuser Brian McNamee, the assistant Yankees strength coach who testified that he injected the seven-time Cy Young winner with steroids and human growth hormone in 1998, 2000 and 2001.

Guerrero acknowledged during the government’s closing argument that McNamee, of Long Beach, “is a flawed man. He’s far from perfect.” But Guerrero also reminded jurors, “Roger Clemens hand-picked Brian McNamee. And Brian McNamee would do whatever Roger Clemens wanted.”

Guerrero also cautioned jurors not to put too much weight into Andy Pettitte saying under cross examination that he’s only 50-50 certain that he heard Clemens correctly in 1999 or 2000 when Clemens told him he used human growth hormone.

Guerrero said Pettitte changed his story on the witness stand because he didn’t want to send Clemens to prison. “We contend he’s always heard it correctly,” Guerrero said. “The only time he’s wavered, here, was to protect his friend.”

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