Opening statements in the retrial of ex-New York Yankees pitcher Roger Clemens, accused of lying to Congress about using steroids, were scheduled for April 23 as the judge in the case picked a panel of 36 potential jurors.
U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton in Washington today recessed the case after wrapping up almost four days of vetting 70 Washington residents for possible service on Clemens’s jury. The three dozen people in the final pool will be cut to 12 jurors and four alternates after the defense gets to eliminate 12 potential members of the panel and the government eight.
Clemens is charged with one count of obstructing a congressional investigation, three counts of making false statements and two counts of perjury in connection with a congressional probe of ballplayers’ alleged use of performance-enhancing drugs. If convicted on all counts, he may face as long as 30 years in prison and a $1.5 million fine.
Walton declared a mistrial in July after finding that prosecutors improperly showed the jury a video clip of a 2008 congressional hearing in which the wife of government witness Andy Pettitte was discussed. Walton had ruled earlier that the government could make no references to Laura Pettitte, or an affidavit she gave Congress.
Among the eight added to the jury pool today is a cybersecurity expert at the U.S. Treasury Department who has testified before Congress, an administrative assistant at the Canadian embassy, a special police officer for the Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority and a program analyst at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
A bioengineer who made the cut told Walton that he thought that Congress’s decision to hold hearings on drug use in baseball “seemed excessive.”
Two of those who were selected today admitted to recently reading about the case and the mistrial. One, a manager at a Washington-based nonprofit that raises money for police programs, said she read a Washington Post article about the case the day after jury selection began on April 16.
Walton had told potential jurors that they must avoid all news articles or programs about the Clemens case.
Walton said that before returning to the final selection of the jury on the afternoon of April 23 he will hear arguments in the morning on whether Pettitte may testify that he obtained HGH from Clemens’s trainer, Brian McNamee.
‘Guilt by Association’
Clemens’s lawyers, in a filing yesterday, decried what they called an attempt by prosecutors to prove “guilt by association” by having Pettitte testify he obtained the HGH from McNamee, without having to show Clemens played any role in the decision to do so.
Prosecutors in an April 16 filing said testimony that Pettitte used human growth hormone injected by McNamee is relevant to their case.
“You cannot strip out half of the narrative and have it make any sense,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven Durham told Walton during a pause in jury selection yesterday.
Clemens, 49, made his Major League Baseball debut in 1984 and played for four different teams over 23 years. Clemens and Pettitte were teammates with the Yankees and the Houston Astros.
The case is U.S. v. Clemens, 10-cr-00223, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington).