(Adds Clemens statistic in 26th paragraph.)
July 13 (Bloomberg) -- A jury of 10 women and two men will decide whether ex-New York Yankees pitcher Roger Clemens lied to Congress when he said he never used performance-enhancing drugs.
The panel was selected from an original pool of 60 jurors over almost four days of questioning. Two men and two women will serve as alternate jurors. Opening statements will begin today.
The 12 jurors include a lawyer-turned-yoga instructor, a retired District of Columbia public-schools counselor and a human-resource specialist for the U.S. Marines who described herself as an avid Washington Redskins football fan. Another panelist is a management analyst who said she likes Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick and “thought he was done wrong.” Vick was suspended from the National Football League and served 21 months in prison after pleading guilty for being involved in a dog-fighting ring.
Clemens, 48, a seven-time Cy Young Award winner, 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 the use of performance-enhancing drugs by ballplayers.
U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton ordered jurors to stay away from media coverage about the case, telling them that “pre-screened” newspapers would be available for them to read in the courthouse. He said U.S. marshals would arrange with them a time and place to meet every morning to be driven to the courthouse together.
Walton said he found it “very troubling” to read a newspaper report about Clemens’s family members writing about the case via their Twitter accounts to “disparage people who are supposed to testify in the case.” The report Walton referred to was an article in the New York Daily News.
“There was a shot taken at Mr. Pettitte’s father and I found that most disturbing,” Walton said, referring to Tom Pettitte, the father of former New York Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte.
Andy Pettitte will testify that Clemens told him about using HGH, prosecutors said. Pettitte’s father may be called by the government, too, prosecutors said.
In August, Walton issued a gag order covering Clemens, attorneys for both sides and potential witnesses, warning them not to make prejudicial comments about the case in public. He said yesterday that he wasn’t sure whether his order would cover the family members.
“I hope nobody associated with this case has anything to do with this information being put out into the public,” Walton said.
Clemens’s lawyer, Rusty Hardin, said he hadn’t seen the report and would look into it.
Clemens has denied drug use since former Senator George Mitchell released a report on steroids in Major League Baseball on Dec. 13, 2007. Mitchell named Clemens in the report.
The charges stem from statements made to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform in February 2008 in a private interview with committee staff and later in a public hearing. Clemens, under oath, denied ever using anabolic steroids or human growth hormone, according to the indictment.
During the public hearing on Feb. 13, Clemens testified while standing just a few feet away from his former trainer, Brian McNamee, who said he injected Clemens with both drugs while Clemens was pitching for the Toronto Blue Jays and the New York Yankees.
McNamee is a chief witness for the government.
If convicted on all charges, Clemens faces as long as 30 years in prison and a $1.5 million fine.
Lawyers for Clemens told Walton that they plan to argue that the House hearing wasn’t a legitimate legislative activity, so Clemens can’t be found guilty of trying to obstruct it.
“The committee’s not authorized to bring up somebody to clear his name,” said Clemens’s lawyer Michael Attanasio during a hearing, unless doing so relates to its legislative function.
He said the whole purpose of the hearing was to give Clemens a chance to clear his name after the Mitchell report and to test the credibility of McNamee, not to consider changes in the law.
Attanasio said the law regarding obstruction says it can occur only during the “due and proper exercise of the power of inquiry” of Congress, which is spelled out in the U.S. Constitution.
The defense expects to bring this out during cross examination of the government’s first two witnesses, including the former House Parliamentarian, Attanasio said.
The prosecution countered that legislation prompted by the hearing was “a possibility,” as Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel Butler put it. The panel, he added, has broad oversight powers, not simply aimed at writing or amending laws.
Walton, who said he expects to give a jury instruction on the issue, said yesterday that he believes the government’s investigation doesn’t need to result in legislation.
Jury candidates were asked whether they knew some of baseball’s biggest names, including former St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Mark McGwire, former San Francisco Giants outfielder Barry Bonds and current Yankees designated hitter Jorge Posada. The government named more than 80 individuals that it said may be mentioned or called as witnesses.
Hardin added more than 30, including former Yankees pitcher David Cone; Hall of Famer Wade Boggs; and Phil Garner, a former Major League Baseball player and manager.
Clemens, a right-hander known as “the Rocket,” pitched for the Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Astros and Toronto Blue Jays. During his 24-year major league career, he won 354 games, ninth in major league history, and had 4,672 strikeouts, ranking third all-time. His earned run average was 3.12.
The case is U.S. v. Clemens, 10-cr-00223, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington).
--Editors: Peter Blumberg, Charles Carter
To contact the reporters on this story: Tom Schoenberg in federal court in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org; Ann Woolner in Atlanta at email@example.com.
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