Potential Jurors More Upset at Government Steroid Witch-Hunt Than Roger Clemens’ Steroid Use

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United States District Judge Reggie Walton is apparently having a difficult time finding a suitable jury for the Roger Clemens steroid perjury trial. It seems that potential jurors more likely to be upset at the government for their witch-hunt involving celebrity athletes than they are to be upset by the possibility that Roger Clemens lied about his use of anabolic steroids and human growth hormone.

The jury selection process, known as “voir dire”, began on July 6, 2011. Judge Walton provided 100 prospective jurors with an 82-page questionnaire containing questions suggested and shaped by federal prosecutors and defense attorneys in order to ensure that the jury does not have any biases that will prevent them from fairly evaluating the evidence presented in the Clemens trial.

Unfortunately, most of the prospective jurors believe the government is wasting taxpayer time and money investigating the use of performance-enhancing drugs (such as anabolic steroids and human growth hormone) in professional sports. Jurors who expressed such a distrust of Congress regarding the steroid witch-hunt have been kicked out of the prospective jury pool.

“Even members of Congress have lied to Congress and they have not been prosecuted,” said one of the panelists who was excused. […]

One potential juror said he saw the documentary “Bigger, Stronger, Faster*” that questioned whether steroids should be illegal and suggested the Clemens investigation was a waste of congressional resources. The man, who is chief financial officer at an accounting firm, called the film convincing and said he agreed Congress should have higher priorities than steroids.

“Given all the problems the country faces, it wouldn’t have been high on my list,” the CFO said.

A woman who works as a federal contracting officer had a similar opinion, although she expressed reluctance to question lawmakers’ decisions. Prosecutor Steven Durham pressed her on whether she believes the investigation was a waste of taxpayer money. She paused, smiled and acknowledged, “Honestly, yes.” But she said she could still fairly judge the case and was told to return as a possible juror.

The federal government indicted Roger Clemens in August 2010 on charges of perjury, providing false statements and obstruction of Congress. Clemens faces six felony counts regarding fifteen statements he made during testimony before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on February 5 and February 12, 2008. Clemens is accused of lying to Congress under oath about his use of anabolic steroids and human growth hormone. Clemens voluntarily asked to testify before Congress as an opportunity to respond to allegations against him contained within the Mitchell Report.

He faces up to 30 years in prison and a $1.5 million fine if a jury finds him guilty on all the charges.

Clemens is a Major League Baseball pitcher who won over 300 games and seven Cy Young Awards during a 23 year career in which he played for the Houston Astros, New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox and Toronto Blue Jays.

Roger Clemens

Photo credit: Keith Allison

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