Andy Pettitte is a deeply religious man, a fact about his life he has no problem sharing with anyone who asks. So I have to hope that he didn’t put his hand on the Bible, swear to tell the truth and then lie to protect his old friend Roger Clemens.
On cross-examination, Pettitte said that he might have misunderstood Clemens when he thought his mentor and work-out partner told him about using human growth hormone. Pettitte went as far as to call a defense lawyer’s statement that there is a 50-50 chance of a misunderstanding “fair.” That answer is a huge blow to the prosecution’s case because it could discredit the testimony of its most reliable witness, with the judge now considering a motion to dismiss Pettitte’s entire testimony.
Pettitte’s suddenly faulty memory seems incredibly suspicious to me. Prior to his testimony yesterday, he has never given any indication that he had doubts about what Clemens told him. I would imagine that the prosecutors would have grilled him endlessly on this particular point since it’s so crucial to their case. But the prosecution has already seriously screwed up this case before, leading to that quick mistrial last year, so it’s not completely unbelievable that they didn’t make sure Pettitte was 100% certain about what he said Clemens told him before putting Pettitte on the stand.
I don’t think Pettitte would tell an outright lie about what Clemens told him, but even opening the door that widely to the possibility that he is wrong could help keep his pal out of prison. Pettitte is smart enough to know about reasonable doubt and this is just the kind of information that could give the jury the opportunity to set Clemens free.
It seems like Pettitte’s part in this legal drama may be coming to an end, which would allow him to try to regain momentum in his efforts to return to the New York Yankees. But the full ramifications of his testimony and the possibility of another player getting away with breaking the rules are enormous for the game of baseball. However, I’m fairly sure none of that entered Pettitte’s mind when he swore to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help him God.