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Furthermore …

Two webs unravel before jurors

The prosecutor told the jury that the defendant wove “a tangled web of deceit, betrayal and hurt.”

The defendant in question was baseball legend Roger Clemens, but those words seem to apply just as much to John Edwards, another man being tried on charges involving deceit and betrayal.

Trials began this week for the two men, each of whom was a leader in his chosen field. And – if the charges are true – each was brought down not so much by a bad deed as by trying to cover up the deed.

In Washington, D.C., Clemens is on trial not for using performance-enhancing drugs but for lying about it to Congress. In Greensboro, N.C., Edwards is accused not of having a baby who was the product of an affair while his wife was dying of cancer but of accepting campaign contributions that were channeled to his mistress.

In each trial, a longtime friend and confidante is now the star witness. In Clemens’ case, that’s Andy Pettitte, like Clemens, a New York Yankees pitcher who admitted to using performance enhancing drugs. In Edwards’ case, it’s Andrew Young, a former campaign staff member who once claimed that he had fathered Edwards’ child.

All else being equal, Clemens has the better chance of being acquitted. A previous trial ended in a mistrial, and it is notoriously hard to prove perjury. For Edwards, it’s likely to come down to whether jurors believe Edwards or Young.

Whether either is convicted of a crime, the evidence would appear to support the idea that both of these highly successful men, in the words of Clemens’ prosecutor, wove “a tangled web of deceit, betrayal and hurt.”