Andy Pettitte’s Frankie Pentangeli moment

When I heard today about how Andy Pettitte indicated that he might have, um, misremembered what Roger Clemens said about HGH, my first thought was that it was something out of a movie. The Godfather, Part II, that is!

Specifically, I am referring to the infamous scene in which Frankie Pentangeli, who is set to testify as to what he knew about Michael Corleone’s crimes, all of a sudden clams up. That’s because Corleone has arranged for Frankie Five Fingers’ brother to come in from Sicily. Seeing his brother keeps him from testifying — he tells the Senate committee that he doesn’t know anything:

The FBI guys promised me a deal. So I made up a lot of stuff about Michael Corleone. Because then, that’s what they wanted. But it was all lies. Everything. They said Michael Corleone did this, Michael Corleone did that. So I said, “Yeah, sure.”

The final script of the movie movie doesn’t really explain why just seeing his brother would compel him not to testify, other than it being about Sicily and omerta, although Michael tells his wife Kay that “it was between those brothers.” (An aside — Pentangeli’s character wasn’t in the first movie, and he serves as a replacement for Clemenza after Richard Castellano, the actor who portrayed Clemenza in the movie, couldn’t come to terms with Francis Ford Coppola on a new contract. While The Godfather, Part II is a great movie, I think Pentangeli’s role would have been much more powerful if he were still Clemenza, like in the first film. But I digress.)

Anyhow, back to Andy Pettitte. According to his Congressional testimony, he told Laura Pettitte of what Clemens said back in the day about using HGH. However, as Ken Davidoff, now of the New York Post, reminds us:

The government’s best weapon to fight back would be to reveal that Pettitte acquired HGH from Brian McNamee, who will say he injected Clemens with illegal performance-enhancing drugs, and that Pettitte shared the details of the conversation with his wife, Laura. District Judge Reggie Walton has closed both doors, however, saying the McNamee connection would be “guilt by association” and the Laura Pettitte testimony “hearsay.”

Oh, great. Thanks, Andy, for potentially helping to set Roger Clemens free, by saying this today in court:

“As you sit here today, you believe in your heart and mind that you very well might have misunderstood Mr. Clemens in 1999 or 2000?” asked one of Clemens’s defense lawyers, Michael Attanasio. “Could have,” Pettitte said. “It’s 50-50 that you might have heard it, might have misunderstood it?” “That’s fair,” Pettitte replied.

The thing of it is, being so ambiguous, and unsure, will not change anybody’s minds who thinks that Pettitte was a rat. It will not repair his friendship with The Rocket. But what it could do is give a jury reasonable doubt on finding Clemens guilty. Lovely. Thanks for nothing, Andy!

What do you think? Tell us about it!