WASHINGTON – Jury selection in Roger Clemens’ perjury trial continued its meticulous pace Thursday and included another detour discussion about audio recordings.
The pace of questioning potential jurors quickened a bit Thursday. The court heard from 19 members of the pool of 100 potential jurors compared to 10 on Wednesday.
Clemens,a former Major League Baseball pitcher,is on trial for lying under oath about alleged steroid use to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. He is charged with perjury,false statements and obstruction of Congress.
During a pretrial hearing Wednesday,defense lawyer Rusty Hardin told the court that the grand jury in former baseball player Barry Bonds’ perjury trial had access to the audio recording of his statements. Thursday,Hardin said that was not the case.
“First of all,I was wrong that they used an audio. They used a transcript for the grand jury,” he said. “I was wrong. I misstated.”
The defense wants a recording of Clemens’ statements to a House committee because it views audio as the most accurate representation of what he meant. On Wednesday,a House lawyer told the court that the written transcript of the testimony in question is the official document,and the House would have to approve the release of the audio.
Thursday marked the second day of jury selection. The pace of questioning quickened,leading U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton to remain hopeful about the timing of the trial. At first,he asked the jurors who passed initial questioning to report Tuesday morning,but he later expressed frustration.
“As it is,we’re not going to be finished by Monday,” he said.
He encouraged both parties to limit their questioning of jurors but recognized the importance of selecting an impartial jury. By the end of the day,he began asking jurors to come back Tuesday afternoon.
The judge wants to choose 36 potential jurors before selecting 12 jurors and four alternates. At the end of the Thursday’s session,18 jurors had been asked to come back next week. The trial is in recess Friday,and jury selection will continue Monday.
Most of the discharged jurors were released fairly quickly. One man and one woman said they had a hard time understanding English,one woman had difficulty accepting the requirement of presumed innocence and another fought back tears as she described her difficult pregnancy.
Walton said he hoped to qualify 36 jurors without dipping into the second half of the jury pool.
“I’d hate to have to go back through those entire 82 questions,” he said.
Reach reporter Michael Stainbrook at [email protected] or 202-326-9868
SHFWire stories are free to any news organization that gives the reporter a byline and credits the SHFWire.