The judge in baseball star Roger Clemens's perjury trial said Monday that defense lawyers would not be allowed to call House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) as a witness.
Clemens stands accused of lying to the Oversight Committee in 2008, when he testified that he did not take performance-enhancing drugs during hearings on the prevalence of steroids in baseball.
Issa was critical of the hearings at the time, describing the effort as similar to the infamous McCarthy hearings of the 1950s. Defense lawyers for Clemens argued that Issa's testimony could help them by undermining the legitimacy of the congressional steroid hearings.
But U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton ultimately sided with congressional lawyers who filed a motion to quash a subpoena compelling Issa's testimony.
According to USA Today, Walton said the defense hadn't provided enough evidence to support the need for Issa's testimony, and said if he were to allow Issa to be called as a witness, the prospect of additional testimony from members of Congress — and the inevitable objections from their legal teams — could further drag out the trial.
The judge noted that Issa had already said he believed Clemens had perjured himself before the committee, warning the defense team his testimony could "bury" the all-star pitcher.
"If I were in your shoes, I would be very loath to call him, considering all the things he said that would be harmful for your client," Walton said. "When he said he believes your client did lie … seems to me that would be a death wish."
Under U.S. sentencing guidelines, Clemens would likely receive somewhere between one and two years in prison if convicted on all six perjury counts he faces. The maximum sentence is 30 years and a $1.5 million fine.