Clemens perjury trial recap: July 6
Charges: Roger Clemens has been charged with perjury, false statements and obstruction of Congress for telling a House committee under oath that he never used steroids or human growth hormone during his 23 seasons in Major League Baseball.
Consequences: The seven-time Cy Young winner could face prison time if the trial’s 12 jurors unanimously agree he lied under oath and convict him. The maximum sentence Clemens could receive for the six charges would be 30 years in prison and a $1.5 million fine.
What happened Wednesday: The trial has started, and Hall of Famer Wade Boggs and former All-Star pitcher David Cone are among 10 former baseball players whom Clemens’ lawyers could call to the witness stand or use in their defense case. Prosectuors, meanwhile, listed almost 100 people whom they could ask to testify or use in their proceedings. The first order of business for the federal judge presiding over the case was the jury selection from a pool of 125 Washington, DC, residents that will be trimmed to 12 jurors and four alternates. US District Judge Reggie Walton plans to ask potential jurors up to 82 questions about their background, opinions and knowledge of the case.
Heated moment: At the start of the day, Walton lashed out at Congress for withholding an audio recording of Clemens’ 2008 deposition. Although the transcript is available, the House has yet to turn over the tape to its committee staff. William Pittard, a lawyer representing the House, retorted that Clemens never requested the tape before the start of the trial and said the House clerk has the tape, which can only be released by a House resolution. According to Pittard, the transcript remains the House’s official record.
Potential key witnesses: Clemens’ wife, Debbie, will likely testify for her husband, according to the defense’s lead lawyer, Rusty Hardin. Walton might allow other baseball players, including former Yankees players Andy Pettitte, Chuck Knoblauch and Mike Stanton, to testify about their use of performance-enhancing drugs if Clemens’ lawyers continue to argue that former trainer Brian McNamee made up allegations about the Cy Young winner to help resolve his own legal and employment troubles.
What it all means: Walton has said he likely will not let Clemens’ former teammates answer questions about their use of performance-enhancing drugs because it could cause the jury to unfairly assume Clemens did as well. Therefore, Clemens’ lawyers could dig a bigger hole for themselves if they pursue their theory about McNamee.
What’s coming up next: Jury selection continues Thursday. The trial is expected to last four to six weeks.