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After mistrial, Clemens' perjury trial gets do-over

The government's case again revolves around the pitcher's former colleagues and trainers linking him to steroids and HGH while the defense likely is going to try to discredit the physical evidence.

April 14, 2012|By Ian Duncan
  • Roger Clemens, shown at the Michael Jordan Celebrity Invitational in Las Vegas last month, will go from the golf course to the court house.
Roger Clemens, shown at the Michael Jordan Celebrity Invitational in Las… (Darrin Shaw / Las Vegas News…)

WASHINGTON -- Jury selection begins Monday in the do-over trial of All-Star pitcher Roger Clemens, nine months after the first trial was ditched when jurors saw inadmissible evidence left on a video screen by prosecutors.

Clemens was indicted for perjury, obstruction of Congress and making false statements after he told a House of Representatives committee in 2008 that he never had used steroids or HGH — human growth hormone — while pitching for the Toronto Blue Jays and New York Yankees.

His testimony contradicted the findings of the Mitchell Report on the use of performance-enhancing drugs in baseball, which named Clemens as one of 89 players who used the substances. The seven-time Cy Young Award winner used steroids during three seasons, and HGH during one, in his 24-year career, according to the report.

Clemens consistently denied the allegations in public, on television and then in Congress.

"I am just making it as possibly as clear as I can," Clemens said in a deposition to the committee. "I haven't done steroids or growth hormone."

The government's argument will revolve around claims made by Clemens' former colleagues and trainers, and syringes and cotton swabs it says tie Clemens to steroids and HGH. Former Yankees teammate Andy Pettitte testified to Congress that Clemens talked to him about using growth hormone.

Clemens has argued that Pettitte misheard or "misremembered" their conversation, and at a hearing Friday, Rusty Hardin, Clemens' attorney, said new information could call the physical evidence into question. Brian McNamee, a trainer who says he injected Clemens with the drugs, is likely to testify, as is Kirk Radomski, a former New York Mets employee who was a major supplier of steroids to professional baseball players. Both men provided evidence to the Mitchell Report.

Meanwhile, the presiding judge said some jurors in the first trial told him that retrying the famed pitcher was a waste of taxpayer money, a newly discovered transcript shows.

U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton made the comment in a private meeting with lawyers for both sides last September. That meeting came just hours before the judge ruled that Clemens must face another trial following the mistrial from two months earlier.

The judge told lawyers for the government and Clemens: "The reason I wanted to do this in chambers and not do this in the courtroom is because I think what I'm going to say now would create a tremendous amount of publicity, which I don't think this case needs, and that is, some of the jurors had said that they felt it was a waste of taxpayers' money at a time when we have significant fiscal problems in our country to prosecute this case again because they felt that Congress has all of these other issues on their plate, they can't seem to solve them, so why are we spending money prosecuting this case."

Walton said it was up to the government to decide whether to proceed with the prosecution, but that he wanted to put his comment into context, and see whether either side wanted to raise an issue about it. Neither did.

Walton did not specify how many jurors had told him that retrial would be a waste of money.

A spokesman for the prosecution declined to discuss the trial, referring to a court order that prohibits attorneys in the case from talking to the media.

ian.duncan@latimes.com The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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