Clemens jury finishes first day of deliberations

Clemens jury finishes first day of deliberations

Clemens jury finishes first day of deliberations
WASHINGTON -- Jurors deciding the Roger Clemens federal perjury case spent about a half-day in deliberations Wednesday before court went into recess until Monday.

The day after he sent the jury into deliberations for only about 15 minutes following four hours of closing arguments and another hour of instructions, Judge Reggie Walton held a short hearing with attorneys out of the jurors' presence to discuss a few housekeeping items relating to the jury.

Among them, the question of whether a juror had been sleeping during the trial again came up, with defense attorney Rusty Hardin saying he smacked the podium during his closing statement to make sure she was awake. Hardin joked he was offended she didn't doze off during Assistant U.S. Attorney Courtney Saleski's closing, just his, but neither side raised objections about the juror's status.

Also, Walton mentioned to the attorneys that the juror he designated the alternate told another juror, apparently the man who works for the Treasury Department and has testified before Congress himself, "I hope they make you the foreperson." Neither side had an issue with that revelation, either.

Clemens, who's being charged with lying to Congress by saying he never used performance-enhancing drugs, was in the courtroom for the hearing but left the courthouse shortly thereafter, with the parties being told they need to be within 10 minutes of reaching the courtroom once there's a verdict.

When the jury arrived at 1:30 p.m., jurors asked for a full exhibit list, which the government said would take about an hour to edit out unused exhibits and put together with the list of defense exhibits, so now the jury is in it for the long haul.

The eight women and four men from the Washington, D.C., area who are charged with deciding the case come from different walks of life, but they all now have something in common: They all sat through more than eight weeks of testimony, hearing from 46 witnesses and watching as prosecutors and defense attorneys scrapped with each other at every turn -- sometimes sitting behind the scenes while that was taking place in the courtroom.

The man who apparently was endorsed by the alternate to be the foreperson is involved in cyberlegislation for the Treasury Department, and in that capacity has testified before Congress several times. He noted during the selection process that he studied constitutional law in graduate school, and said he recognized baseball names and that Congress does "an important job" although "some individuals do well and some don't."

While he dismisses his legal experience as minimal, he's not the only one with some background with the law -- there's also a woman who is an environmental lawyer and teaches scholarly writing at George Washington University.

The juror Walton believes "listens by closing her eyes" is retired from the Department of Transportation and is now involved in the effort to have the District of Columbia granted federal voting rights, since the District does not have a voting member of Congress. Other jurors who are involved in politics or government include a woman who is a program analyst for the D.C. Department of Human Services and a man who is an administrative assistant for the Canadian Embassy -- which is right next door to the courthouse, incidentally.

Two of the jurors discussed during voir dire a significant knowledge of performance-enhancing drugs. One man has a bachelor's degree in bioengineering (so he has some background in DNA) and said that he's known people who used PEDs and got some benefit from them. Another, a male program analyst for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, grew up in a River Edge, N.J., neighborhood when Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris were living there and is now an avid cyclist who has met many people going to a gym since 1975 who have used steroids. His "opinion is it's not a good thing because of the health effects."

One woman teaches fourth-grade deaf students in a mainstreaming program at an elementary school and loves making fabric art. Another is a curatorial researcher who for the past decade has organized exhibitions for the Smithsonian Institute.

There is a recently retired executive director of the Association of Clinical Psychologists, a librarian for the American Council on Education, and an occupational therapist -- all three are women.

Only 24 hours removed from closing arguments, the jurors have a lot to absorb.

Clemens, who won 354 games and a record seven Cy Young awards in a 24-year Major League career, is charged with three counts of making false statements, two counts of perjury and one count of obstruction of Congress for telling the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform in 2008 that he never used steroids or human-growth hormone, also making other statements the government says were misleading to the investigation. In order to come back with a conviction on the obstruction charge, the jury must find Clemens guilty of one or more of 13 obstructive acts.

Brian McNamee, who worked with Clemens for the better part of a decade, testified before the same congressional committee and at this trial that he injected Clemens with performance-enhancing drugs numerous times from 1998-2001, saving evidence in a Miller Lite beer can and a FedEx box after injecting Clemens in August 2001. Clemens testified that McNamee only injected him with vitamin B12 and lidocaine.

To decide whether Clemens is lying, jurors have to determine how much they can believe of McNamee's story -- much of which was contradicted by defense witnesses, including his own estranged wife and Clemens' wife, Debbie. The two sides in closing statements obviously presented differing opinions on who is lying.

The jurors must decide that Clemens is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, which was defined to jurors as something that would cause a reasonable person to hesitate regarding the graver matters in life -- and the defense added something to that definition.

"Brian McNamee defines reasonable doubt," defense attorney Michael Attanasio told jurors. "If Brian McNamee told you something in one of the graver matters in your life, would you take that to the bank?"

The prosecution, meanwhile, said it was Clemens who was the one with the "cover story" and that what he did by going before Congress was part of his quest to "deny, distance and discredit" anyone who suggested he did performance-enhancing drugs.

"He threw sand in their eyes," Saleski said.

The jury will not return to deliberations until Monday because Walton had a commitment Thursday and Friday and, although he said he would cancel those plans, several jurors also made plans for those days. If deliberations continue into next Wednesday, that day is slated for an abbreviated schedule after full days of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, if necessary.

John Schlegel is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.