Roger Clemens trial begins with jury selection

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The perjury trial of pitching great Roger Clemens has begun.

Roger Clemens leaves a D.C. courthouse in August. (Photo: TBD Staff)

U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton turned immediately Wednesday to selecting a jury from a pool of 125 Washington residents. The judge has said he hopes to find 12 jurors and four alternates by early next week for a trial that is expected to last into August.

Like other players who have been indicted in baseball's steroids era, Clemens has not been charged with drug crimes, but is accused of lying about drug use. Clemens told a House committee under oath in 2008 that he never used performance-enhancing drugs during a standout career in which he won a record seven Cy Young Awards as his league's top pitcher.

Clemens won 354 games during a career that spanned nearly a quarter-century.

At the outset, Walton said he didn't understand why the House of Representatives has not turned over the audio of Clemens' 2008 deposition to committee staff, even though a transcript is available.

Walton said Congress risks being seen by the public as "hiding behind things." Still, he said he is not willing to delay the trial over the issue.

The judge said he might allow other baseball players to testify they knowingly received performance-enhancing drugs if Clemens' defense team pursues its theory that Clemens' chief accuser made up allegations he injected Clemens with steroids and human growth hormone as leverage to help him deal with his own legal troubles.

Clemens told a House committee under oath three years ago that he never used performance-enhancing drugs.

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