Roger Clemens retrial: Potential Clemens jurors question Hill inquiry
One was excused after he said he didn't believe Clemens took steroids. On Monday, one potential juror said he felt "it was a little bit ridiculous" when Congress held hearings on drug use in sports because he felt the government should have been focusing on bigger problems. Asked whether he thought it was wasteful for Congress to hold the steroid hearings, he responded, "Yes."
Nevertheless, the native of Chile - an investment officer for an international bank - was asked to return, the only male to remain in the jury pool among those who were individually screened on the first day. He said he could keep the issue of whether Clemens lied separate from whether Congress should have had the hearings in the first place, saying, "This is a completely different process."
Another potential juror recalled the 2008 hearing by saying, "At the time, I remember thinking it didn't seem to be a great use of taxpayer money."
But she, too, was kept in the pool after she said she could be impartial.
"Even if I don't agree with the reason that you're brought before Congress, you still have to tell the truth. ... If you perjure yourself before Congress, it's still illegal," said the woman, who is an executive for an environmental nonprofit organization.
The woman said her father played minor league baseball. But another potential juror was excused after she volunteered, "I don't know if that's the best use of government tax dollars at this time."
She said her feelings could influence her ability to serve. Another was excused when she said Congress spent "too much time" on the investigation.
Clemens lawyer Rusty Hardin even hinted that the defense might challenge Congress' authority to call the hearing in the first place, but Walton was skeptical of that line of questioning.
The judge reminded lawyers again that some of the jurors from the first trial felt a retrial would be a waste of taxpayer money. He said that one of the hurdles in the case is that some people think "we have some significant problems in this country that are not being addressed by this Congress."
By the end of the first day, only 13 potential jurors had been screened and just seven had been asked to return Wednesday for more questioning.
Hardin asked several of the potential jurors if they could conceive of a situation in which somebody says something under oath that he believed to be true, which turns out not to be, without telling an intentional lie - raising the possibility that could be part of Clemens' defense.
Clemens faces a maximum sentence of up to 30 years in prison and a $1.5 million fine if convicted on all six charges. Maximum penalties are unlikely because Clemens doesn't have a criminal record, but Walton made plain at the first trial that Clemens was at risk of going to jail.
Under U.S. sentencing guidelines, he probably would face up to 15 months to 21 months in prison.
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