The prosecutors and defense attorneys in the Roger Clemens perjury case in Washington began asking questions of potential jurors this afternoon, probing any bias against athletes, lawyers and members of Congress.
U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton read aloud 86 questions (PDF) this morning that asked potential jurors about a range of issues, from thoughts on the use of performance enhancing drugs in professional sports to whether Congress should have any role in policing the use of drugs in sports.
Clemens was charged in August 2010 in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia with lying to Congress when he denied ever using drugs during his long career as a pitcher. The trial last summer fell apart after prosecutors in the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the District of Columbia presented evidence Walton had ruled inadmissible.
At a hearing last week in the case, Clemens’ lawyers charged that prosecutors received an unfair advantage, getting a second chance to investigate and dig up more information to use against Clemens.
A lead attorney for Clemens, Russell Hardin Jr. of Houston, asked prospective jurors this afternoon whether they can set aside the fact Clemens was indicted to listen to the entire case. He said “some people think where there is smoke there is fire.”
Hardin’s questions focused on the notion that a person can be falsely accused of a crime and that law enforcement officers are no more credible than other people.
Walton said he planned to question 20 potential jurors today, with a group of 25 expected to come in tomorrow. Jury selection is expected to last at least several days.
Here’s a sampling of what jurors are being asked about:
--Do you feel that scientific experts retained by the defense are more or less believable simply because they are used and paid by the defense?
--Do you believe the use of human growth hormone or anabolic steroids is prevalent in professional sports?
--Are you a fan of professional baseball?
--Do you think Congress or any government agency should be involved in investigating or policing the use of steroids or other drugs in professional sports?