Why Roger Clemens’ Defense Lawyer Is Greeted with Shouts of ‘Screw You, Rusty’

The lead lawyer who will be defending Roger Clemens on charges of lying about steroid use has a record of victories in high-profile cases.

Jury selection begins today in Clemens’ trial in Washington, D.C., the Washington Post reports. The baseball great is accused of lying to a congressional committee when he denied taking steroids and human growth hormone. Prosecutors plan to introduce DNA linking Clemens to syringes allegedly used for the injections.

Lead defense lawyer Rusty Hardin, 69, brings to the case “a rare combination of meticulous pretrial investigation, an uncanny ability to connect with jurors and a mastery of drama and humor,” ESPN.com reports. The New York Daily News describes Hardin as a lawyer with a “honey-glazed accent and oversize personality” who isn’t afraid of unorthodox moves.

The Washington Post identifies two hurdles facing prosecutors. First, they will have to prove Clemens knowingly took steroids and growth hormone rather than vitamins or other substances. Second, they will have to prove the alleged lies were material to congressional action.

The New York Daily News reveals that Hardin was rejected by 21 law schools. He attended the only school that accepted him: Southern Methodist University. The article questions whether the lawyer failed Clemens by allowing him to appear before Congress.

The Daily News and ESPN both highlight a well-publicized moment when Hardin was representing the estate of Texas millionaire J. Howard Marshall in a battle over the money with former Playboy bunny Anna Nicole Smith. Smith was on the stand, sobbing and telling of her love for her 89-year-old late husband.

“Mrs. Marshall, have you been taking new acting lessons?” Hardin asked.

“Screw you, Rusty,” Smith replied. Now, when Hardin is recognized in public, people are apt to shout, “Screw you, Rusty,” ESPN says.

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