Clemens jury begins deliberations
WASHINGTON - The dozen Washingtonians who will decide Roger Clemens’s fate heard a day of closing arguments stuffed with attention-getting sound bites. The eight women and four men then began deliberations Tuesday that will impact one of the most successful pitchers of his generation - and, in a way, the criminal pursuit of athletes accused of illegal doping.
“You,’’ prosecutor Gil Guerrero told the jurors, “are the final umpires here.’’
They heard a clever line about Clemens being “a Cy Young baseball player’’ but not “a Cy Young witness.’’ They heard the key witness called “a flawed man’’ who produced evidence from a “magic beer can.’’
They were asked to debate whether it’s “outrageous’’ that Clemens was charged in the first place, or whether it’s a byproduct from Congress’s “authority to protect the nation’s youth.’’
Having digested the competing spins on 26 days of testimony by 46 witnesses, the jury met for some 15 minutes before being excused for the day at 5 p.m. They will reconvene Wednesday afternoon, then unless they reach a quick verdict, take off until Monday because of a long-scheduled out-of-town business trip by the judge.
Clemens is charged with perjury, making false statements, and obstructing Congress when he testified at a deposition and at a nationally televised hearing in February 2008. The heart of the charges center on his repeated denials that he used steroids and human growth hormone.
Clemens’s chief accuser was his longtime strength coach, Brian McNamee, who spent more than a week on the stand and testified that he injected Clemens with both substances.
But also essentially on trial was Congress’s right to hold the hearings in the first place, and Clemens lawyer Rusty Hardin spent part of his closing statement appealing to the notion that the US government was way out of line.
“What’s happened in this case,’’ Hardin said, “is a horrible, horrible overreach by the government and everyone involved.’’
Guerrero argued that Congress had the right to care because baseball players are role models.