Roger Clemens retrial: Potential Clemens jurors question Hill inquiry
WASHINGTON (AP) - Prosecutors and the judge in Roger Clemens' retrial are finding potential jurors who view the congressional hearings where he allegedly lied as a waste of money, which could pose a serious hurdle to convicting the famed baseball pitcher of perjury about whether he used drugs.
Two of those prospective jurors have already survived the first cut in choosing the panel, and on Tuesday another one also did so, even though he said didn't know if it was appropriate for Congress to investigate performance-enhancing drugs in sports.
Wearing a dark suit and red tie, Clemens, once an overpowering right-handed pitcher, was back at the defense table jotting notes with his right hand and occasionally flipping through pages with his left.
The seven-time Cy Young Award winner is facing the government's second attempt to prove that he misled a House committee at a landmark drugs-and-sports hearing in 2008.
The first trial last July ended in a mistrial when prosecutors introduced inadmissible evidence after only two witnesses had been called.
The man who questioned the congressional investigation Tuesday, a graphic designer, also said he believed that baseball's career home run leader Barry Bonds took performance-enhancing drugs.
Bonds was found guilty last year on just one count of obstruction of justice, for giving an evasive answer to a grand jury when asked about drug use. The juror said Bonds should have been forthcoming about drug use: "It was as simple as stepping up to the plate and being a man about it."
He added that he never thought of Bonds as a man of integrity. Asked by Clemens lawyer Rusty Hardin if he had similar feelings about Clemens, he responded that he viewed Clemens in a different way.
Hardin called him an "ambivalent juror" and asked the judge to strike him. But U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton declined.
The judge said disqualification might be justified if the man were being asked to serve on a jury for Bonds, but not in this case. Hardin will still have an opportunity to strike him later in the process, but he'd have to use one of his 12 unexplained strikes.
Also Tuesday, a man who admitted to being arrested "quite a few times" on misdemeanors was approved to return for the next stage of selection. The man, who said he was in his early 60s and "semiretired," at first said he didn't think it should be a crime for a man to lie only about himself before Congress.
But when a prosecutor asked if the person's lies affected an investigation that could affect the health of children, he said that should be a crime.
Another potential juror was qualified for the next stage although he said it appeared Attorney General Eric Holder was not giving complete information to congressional investigators looking into the federal government's flawed gun-smuggling investigation in the Phoenix-area known as Operation Fast and Furious.
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