Andy Pettitte's sworn statement that Roger Clemens admitted using human growth hormone was a critical factor in a federal grand jury's decision to indict Clemens on charges he lied to Congress, according to the top Republican on the House committee that held a 2008 hearing on performance-enhancing substances in baseball.
"If it was just Roger versus [Brian] McNamee, it's a different matchup," former Rep. Tom Davis of Virgina told ESPNNewYork.com by phone. McNamee is Clemens' former trainer who claims to have provided the pitching great with HGH and steroids -- claims Clemens has vehemently denied.
"We didn't call Andy Pettitte, we deposed him, and he supported McNamee and that was a problem for [Clemens]," Davis said. "Without Pettitte, neither McNamee nor Clemens was that articulate or credible."
Pettitte revealed he used HGH that was provided by McNamee to expedite his recovery from an injury. Pettitte said in his deposition that his former teammate, Clemens, also acknowledged using HGH.
When he appeared before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform in February 2008, Clemens said Pettitte had "misremembered" their conversation.
"Andy Petttitte didn't want to testify against his friend," Davis said. "But when he raised his right hand, he told the truth. It would've been different without him. Roger was a great pitcher who's done a lot for the community, and McNamee's had other issues."
Clemens called WEEI Radio in Boston on Friday to express his support for the Jimmy Fund Radio Telethon. He is an annual supporter. He was asked if he still communicates with Pettitte.
"We don't," he said.
Clemens did not offer details about his defense.
"It's not fun, but I'm not going to talk about what we have ahead of us," he said. "In time, we'll get to have our say."
He added: "All I'm going to say is that I learned a lot through what happened, and what did not happen. We're going to deal with it. I don't know what else to say. We're going to deal with it and have our day."
After his alleged use of HGH and steroids was documented in the Mitchell report, Clemens voluntarily testified under oath he'd never used performance-enhancing drugs. He was indicted Thursday on three counts for making false statements, on two counts for perjury, and on one count for obstruction of justice.
Before Clemens testified, Davis was among those who met with the seven-time Cy Young Award winner and his attorney, Rusty Hardin. Davis said he warned Clemens he shouldn't lie to Congress, and the response to that warning went like this: "We get it. We get it. OK."
"We're sitting around, and they were deciding whether to go through with the hearing or not," Davis said. "This wasn't a mandatory hearing. We weren't hanging [Clemens] out to dry. We were only giving him an opportunity to refute the Mitchell report and to tell his side of the story.
"We didn't wish this on Clemens, I guarantee you. But there are people who think they can bluff their way through, and it's hubris. ... These matters are taken very seriously. We impeached a president [Bill Clinton] for lying in a deposition. Nobody's above the law, including the president and All-Star pitchers."
Ian O'Connor is a columnist for ESPNNewYork.com. You can follow him on Twitter. Information from ESPNBoston.com was used in this report.