The Roger Clemens [re]trial officially kicked off on Monday, though it still has yet to get started. Today marks day three of jury selection. New York Daily News sports investigative reporters Michael O’Keeffe and Nathaniel Vinton are tweeting live covereage of jury selection from the E. Barrett Prettyman Federal Courthouse in Washington, D.C. (@NYDNSportsITeam).
As was the situation in the case against Barry Bonds, Clemens is charged with perjury (see the 19-page indictment), but we all know what the case is really about—steroids, drugs, PEDs, human growth hormone; call it what you want. Apparently I’m not the only one who thinks this trial is a waste of time (not to mention, taxpayer dollars). Shortly after the government’s first attempt at prosecuting Clemens ended in a mistrial, some of the jurors from the case spoke out, which prompted district court judge Reggie Walton to call the attorneys from both sides into his chambers:
The reason I wanted to do this in chambers and not 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.
The trial in the matter of United States of America vs. William R. Clemens, No. CR-10-223, is expected to last four to six weeks. The government’s case rests almost entirely on DNA evidence that was allegedly procured by Brian McNamee, Clemens’ former strength trainer, who claims that he saved some of the needles and gauze that he used to inject Clemens with PEDs. That evidence will be worthless, however, unless the government can prove its chain of custody, which means that they will have to identify and make available for cross-examination every individual who possessed the proferred evidence—from the time it was collected, then examined, and all the way up to the time they present it to the jury.
Good luck Mr. Assistant U.S. Attorney: That’s 11 years you have to account for the whereabouts of this evidence, including the 7 years that McNamee claims that he stored the medical waste in his New York home, stuffed inside a Miller Lite beer can.
(photo credit: Mark Sardella/Flickr)