Roger Clemens acquitted of all charges

June 18, 2012

The Washington Post on June 18, 2012 released the following:

“By Ann E. Marimow and Del Quentin Wilber

Legendary pitcher Roger Clemens was found not guilty Monday of all charges in the government’s perjury case against him.

Over seven weeks of testimony in the case against Clemens, jurors heard from more than 40 witnesses, including former major league ballplayers, a housekeeper, the general manager of the New York Yankees and the wife of the star pitcher. The trial, initially anticipated to last four to six weeks, was at times slow going, with two jurors dismissed for sleeping on the job.

Deliberations began Tuesday, but jurors were off on Thursday and Friday.

The baseball legend was on trial for a second time, charged with six counts of perjury, making false statements and obstructing Congress for denying in 2008 that he had ever taken steroids or human growth hormone. A House panel was following up on a 2007 report by former senator George Mitchell that connected dozens of ballplayers, including Clemens, to performance-enhancing drugs.

Clemens told Congressional staffers and lawmakers in a nationally televised hearing that his former strength coach Brian McNamee had injected him with liquid vitamin B 12 and the painkiller lidocaine – not steroids or human growth hormone. But McNamee told the same House committee that he injected the seven-time Cy Young Award winner with the banned substances on several occasions in 1998, 2000 and 2001.

Defense attorneys portrayed Clemens as a man who was unfairly pursued by a huge team of investigators and prosecutors for four and a half years. Despite more than 200 interviews and the work of more than 90 federal agents, Clemens’s attorney emphasized that McNamee, a man with a troubled past, was the only person to testify to firsthand knowledge of the ballplayer’s alleged use of performance-enhancing drugs. Clemens’s highly decorated 24-year career was the result of hard work and discipline, not drugs, his lawyers said.

Prosecutors responded that it was unremarkable to find just one witness to what they described as Clemens’s “dirty little secret.” Government’s lawyers noted that not one of the defense’s witnesses had testified to seeing McNamee inject Clemens with vitamin B-12 or lidocaine. And they put on the stand several athletic trainers and team doctors who testified that McNamee would not have had access or the authority to inject the star pitcher with such substances in their team clubhouses.

The defense team spent considerable time attacking McNamee’s credibility, at one point putting his estranged wife on the witness stand to contradict the former strength coach’s testimony about why he kept needles, cotton balls and other medical waste from the alleged injections. The former strength coach admitted to having exaggerated, changed his story and lied to authorities in a 2001 criminal investigation into an alleged sexual assault.

But prosecutors said McNamee had little incentive to turn on his former employer whose cachet helped McNamee’s own business as a personal trainer. McNamee only decided to turn over the medical waste — stored in a MillerLite can and FedEx box, he said — after Clemens allowed a taped conversation that mentioned McNamee’s sick child to be aired on national television.

Perhaps the most dramatic moment of the trial came when Clemens’s former teammate and friend, Andy Pettitte, backed away from a critical element of the prosecution’s case. Pettitte, a star pitcher in his own right, initially told jurors that Clemens confided in him in 1999 or 2000 about using HGH to help with recovery. Pettitte had earlier told Congressional investigators the same story. But on cross-examination, Pettitte agreed with one of Clemens’s attorneys, Michael Attanasio, that there was a 50/50 chance he had misheard his friend.

Even before the trial began, many of the Washingtonians called to the Prettyman Courthouse for jury duty questioned the wisdom of the government investigating the use of performance-enhancing drugs in big league baseball. In interviews with the judge, many prospective jurors — including some selected for the panel — said that Congress should have been spending its time on weightier matters that affected more people.

In reaching a verdict, the panel of eight women and four men had to decide whether Clemens’s answers to questions from Congressional investigators and lawmakers were “material” or relevant to the work of committee “as distinguished from unimportant or trivial facts,” according to the lengthy jury instructions.

To find Clemens guilty of the obstruction charge, for instance, jurors had to unanimously agree that the all-star pitcher made at least one of 13 allegedly false or misleading statements on subjects including his use of vitamin B-12 and the circumstances of his wife’s injection of human growth hormone.

In July, during the pitcher’s first trial on the same charges, Walton declared a mistrial after just two days of testimony. But the judge subsequently decided not to dismiss the charges, allowing this year’s trial to proceed.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Clemens trial about lying, not baseball: prosecutors

June 12, 2012

Chicago Tribune on June 12, 2012 released the following:

“Lily Kuo
Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Federal prosecutors in the perjury trial of former pitching ace Roger Clemens urged jurors on Tuesday to use common sense and not to fall for the “entangled web of lies” he weaved to protect his reputation.

Clemens, 49, is on trial for the second time on federal charges of lying in 2008 to the House of Representatives’ Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, which was investigating drug use in Major League Baseball.

Prosecutors made closing arguments as jurors prepared to begin deliberations after nearly two months of testimony.

“What is this case about?” Assistant U.S. Attorney Gilberto Guerrero asked. “This case is not about Roger Clemens’ greatness. It is about (him) lying…to protect his legacy.”

Clemens, who won 354 regular-season games and is a record seven-time winner of the yearly Cy Young Award as best pitcher, is among the biggest names implicated in drug use in baseball.

The defense has worked to portray Clemens as a hard worker whose stunning late-career success was the product of dedication and smart pitching, not performance-enhancing drugs.

Defense lawyers will make closing statements and the jury will begin deliberating later Tuesday or Wednesday morning on what they have heard from 46 witnesses in the nine-week trial.

Guerrero outlined the government’s charges against Clemens, including obstruction of Congress, making a false statement and perjury, and appealed to jurors to use their common sense.

He argued against attacks on the testimony of Brian McNamee, the prosecution’s key witness and Clemens’ former trainer, who said he injected Clemens with anabolic steroids and human growth hormone between 1998 and 2001.

Clemens’ lawyers have worked to paint McNamee as a liar who obtained immunity in exchange for his testimony.

“We’re not asking you to like Brian McNamee. … Brian McNamee did a lot of things that weren’t nice … but Roger Clemens is the one who chose Brian McNamee to inject him with steroids and HGH,” Guerrero told the jury.

He also highlighted inconsistencies in defense witnesses from Clemens’s wife, Debbie, who testified that she had received an injection of human growth hormone from McNamee in 2000.

New York Yankees’ pitcher Andy Pettitte testified earlier in the trial that Clemens, a former teammate, told Pettitte in 1999 or 2000 that he had taken human growth hormone but, years later, said he had been referring to his wife’s use of the drug.

Guerrero pointed to physical evidence prosecutors have presented, medical waste which they say contain Clemens DNA and traces of steroids. Defense attorneys have argued that blood and pus on two cotton balls and a small number of cells on a needle, could have been fabricated.

“That’s totally illogical. There’s no way in the world someone could fabricate that,” Guerrero said, echoing the testimony of a government forensic scientist.

McNamee testified that he kept needles, cotton balls, a broken steroid ampoule and other medical waste from injections for Clemens. He turned the evidence in to authorities in 2008.

Clemens won his final Cy Young Award in 2004, the summer he turned 42, in his first season with the Houston Astros.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Debbie Clemens to back up husband on HGH shot

June 8, 2012

Associated Press on June 8, 2012 released the following:

“By FREDERIC J. FROMMER
Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — “My heart’s pounding,” Debbie Clemens said just before she walked into a federal courtroom to take the stand in her husband’s perjury trial.

Lawyers on both sides of the Roger Clemens case are ready for key testimony from her about her husband’s alleged use of human growth hormone as the defense nears the end of its case.

Debbie Clemens, who spent only 15 minutes on the stand Thursday fielding background questions before court recessed for the day, was to get to the crux of her testimony Friday. She was expected to say that she received a shot of HGH from Clemens’ then-strength coach, Brian McNamee, about 12 years ago, and that her husband wasn’t present.

McNamee, the government’s key witness, testified last month that not only was the star baseball pitcher there, he had summoned McNamee to the couple’s master bathroom in Houston to give Debbie Clemens the drug.

McNamee said she looked at her husband and said, “I can’t believe you’re going to let him do this to me,” and Clemens responded, “He injects me. Why can’t he inject you?”

Clemens is charged with lying to Congress when he denied using performance-enhancing drugs. Among the false statement he’s alleged to have made are that he never used HGH and that McNamee injected his wife without Clemens’ prior knowledge or approval.

Wearing a cream-colored suit, Debbie Clemens told U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton that she was being represented by her husband’s lawyer, Rusty Hardin. Walton gave her a few minutes to talk to Hardin about her right not to incriminate herself, after which she came back and said she was ready to testify.

Hardin earlier had told Walton that the HGH injection happened so long ago that the statute of limitations would bar charges against her now.

Debbie Clemens testified briefly Thursday about the couple’s time in Boston, where her husband pitched for the Red Sox from 1984 to 1996. She recalled that son Koby, born in 1986, was dubbed “most valuable baby” because his father was MVP that year.

For the benefit of the jury, Walton asked her what MVP meant.

“Most valuable baby,” she said, prompting laughter in the courtroom – including a rare laugh from her husband across the room. She quickly corrected her answer to most valuable player.

She also said that while she liked Boston, “the media could be very miserable. It was hard living a hero and a villain every other day, what they were creating.”

After the court recessed, Roger Clemens came up behind his wife in the hallway and put his arm around her.

Earlier Thursday, McNamee’s wife, Eileen, testified, but there was no embrace waiting for her, as the couple is going through a contentious divorce. She said she was furious with both her husband and Clemens when the former pitcher’s lawyers allowed details of the McNamees’ oldest son’s diabetes to be revealed during a 2008 nationally televised news conference.

The news conference was part of a media blitz during which Clemens denied the doping allegations McNamee made about the pitcher in the then-just-released Mitchell Report on drugs in baseball. Hardin and Clemens played a taped phone call in which McNamee told Clemens, “My son is dying.”

That wasn’t true, Eileen McNamee said, although she had left her husband a message around that time about blood test results that weren’t what they were supposed to be.

“Brian didn’t bother to call me back. He called Roger and told him his son was dying,” she testified.

Then her 10-year-old son heard the news conference, and “now my son thinks he’s dying.”

Prosecutor Courtney Saleski said Clemens could have kept the information about her son out of the news conference, but instead, “he played it for the world.”

“Yes, he did,” Eileen McNamee said. She acknowledged that she called her husband and told him to go after Clemens.

The next day, around 3 a.m., Brian McNamee retrieved the evidence that he said had been kept in and around a beer can inside a FedEx box for more than six years, the remnants of an alleged steroids injection of Clemens in 2001, which is the key physical evidence against Clemens.

“I asked him where he was going, and he said he was heading to his lawyers, and he was out the door,” she recalled.

Brian McNamee had testified that he decided to turn over the evidence to federal authorities against Clemens “because of what he did to my son.””

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Roger Clemens trial: Federal prosecutors rest their perjury case

May 30, 2012

The Washington Post on May 29, 2012 released the following:

“By Del Quentin Wilber and Ann E. Marimow

Federal prosecutors on Tuesday rested their perjury case against retired baseball star Roger Clemens, having elicited testimony from 24 witnesses — on topics ranging from performance-enhancing drugs and vitamin injections to a “booty shot” and a crumpled beer can.

The trial already has gone far longer than the four to six weeks prosecutors estimated when they began picking jurors on April 16. Since then, a parade of witnesses — ranging from New York Yankees pitcher and former teammate Andy Pettitte and athletic trainers to a colorful steroid dealer and forensic experts — have testified about Clemens, his career and whether he took steroids or human growth hormone. Prosecutors allege Clemens lied when he denied to Congress in 2008 that he had never taken performance-enhancing drugs.

Clemens has challenged those allegations and his lawyers began presenting their case to jurors Tuesday that the pitcher became a superstar by working hard, not taking drugs. Their first witness, a high school teammate of the future “Rocket,” testified that Clemens trained so intensely that he blazed a trail in the outfield grass while doing running drills.

Another defense witness, a college teammate, described Clemens’s “diligent, disciplined” routine. “Roger had made up his mind he was going to be successful,” said Mike Capel. “He worked extremely, extremely hard to earn everything he had.”

Defense lawyers have indicated they expect to present seven or eight days of evidence to jurors. One of those witnesses might be Clemens’s wife, Debbie, who is expected to testify that she took human growth hormone, not her husband.

Before resting their case, federal prosecutors called a financial consultant to testify in the hopes of buttressing the credibility of Brian McNamee, Clemens’s former strength coach. McNamee, a key but troubled witness, has alleged he injected Clemens with steroids or human growth hormone in 1998, 2000 and 2001. The financial consultant, Anthony Corso, was also one of McNamee’s clients and testified that the strength coach told him in 2002 or 2003 that Clemens had used human growth hormone to help him recover from workouts.

Corso also testified that McNamee told him in 2005 that he had kept syringes from injections he gave ballplayers so the strength coach would not “get thrown under the bus.” McNamee added that he kept the syringes in a beer can that he put in a box, the financial consultant testified.

Corso testified that he worked out with McNamee from 2002 through 2007 and took growth hormone on McNamee’s recommendation.

McNamee turned over the beer can and box of medical waste to authorities in 2008. Forensic scientists have testified that Clemens’s DNA and steroids were discovered on a needle found in the box — but outside the beer can. The pitcher’s DNA also was discovered on bloody cotton swabs in the can, an expert said. Clemens’s lawyers have assailed the evidence as “garbage” and argued that it could have been contaminated.

The pitcher’s lawyers scored a minor legal victory when U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton agreed to dismiss two of 15 acts that constitute a charge of obstruction of Congress. Even so, jurors only must find that he committed one of those remaining 13 acts to convict him of that charge. Walton declined to dismiss any of the other five charges of perjury or making false statements.

In other developments, a third juror was dismissed from the panel because her mother died last week. That leaves 12 jurors and one alternate to finish out a trial that has already reached extra innings.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Witness in Clemens trial says was told Clemens used drug

May 29, 2012

Fox News on May 29, 2012 released the following:

Reuters

“Ex-trainer Brian McNamee, who says he injected performance-enhancing drugs into former pitching ace Roger Clemens, told a client that Clemens had used human growth hormone to recover more quickly from injuries and strains, the client testified on Tuesday.

Prosecution witness Anthony Corso’s testimony bolsters that of McNamee, a former strength and conditioning coach, whose allegations that he injected Clemens with steroids and human growth hormone have been the core of the government’s case.

Federal prosecutors claim the retired pitching star lied to a congressional panel when he denied using performance-enhancing drugs.

“Mr McNamee had mentioned that Mr. Clemens was one of the athletes that he was getting positive results from him being able to push himself to limits … using the medication to recover,” Corso, 49, testified.

Clemens’ lawyers sought to cast doubt on Corso’s testimony when the witness revealed he could not recall whether McNamee had mentioned Clemens during a conversation about saving syringes from players using the drugs.

Corso testified that McNamee had told him in or around 2005 that the trainer had saved syringes from players to avoid getting “thrown under the bus” should the drug usage be discovered but said McNamee had not named Clemens as one of those players.

According to prosecutors, Corso had told a grand jury in 2010 that McNamee claimed the syringes had been “used on Roger.”

“The two answers are different. So would it be a fair testimony … that you made a mistake?” Clemens’ lawyer Rusty Hardin asked.

“Yes,” Corso said.

Clemens’ attorneys have worked to paint McNamee as a liar who obtained immunity in exchange for his testimony.

McNamee has said that he saved medical waste from a 2001 injection of anabolic steroids into Clemens and turned the evidence in to authorities in 2008.

Clemens, 49, a seven-time Cy Young Award winner as best pitcher, is being tried for a second time on federal charges of lying in 2008 to the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, which was investigating drug use in Major League Baseball. His first trial ended last year in a mistrial.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

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————————————————————–

To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Roger Clemens trial: Prosecutors seek to present evidence of McNamee injecting players with drugs

May 18, 2012

The Washington Post on May 18, 2012 released the following:

“By Del Quentin Wilber

Federal prosecutors asked a judge Friday morning to allow them to present evidence that their star witness injected other players with performance-enhancing drugs as they continued to press their perjury case against baseball legend Roger Clemens.

In court papers, prosecutors wrote that they felt it was necessary to seek the introduction of such evidence — which they believe will bolster their witness’s credibility — because defense lawyers have argued that Brian McNamee has “falsely accused” Clemens of having taken steroids and human growth hormone.

U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton had ruled that prosecutors could not introduce such evidence because it would be prejudicial to Clemens. But he said last year that he would reconsider his decision, depending on how defense lawyers attacked Clemens’s former strength coach.

Prosecutors wrote that they wanted to introduce such evidence because it would buttress McNamee’s contention that he injected Clemens with performance-enhancing drugs. He has said he injected Andy Pettitte, Mike Stanton and Chuck Knoblauch with such substances, and the players have all confirmed his story.

McNamee first made his allegations to federal agents, then to former senator George Mitchell, who issued a 2007 report on the rampant use of steroids in Major League Baseball. He later reiterated those allegations to Congressional investigators and lawmakers. Clemens is charged with lying to Congress in 2008 when he vehemently denied McNamee’s claims.

The government needs to “rebut defendant’s suggestions that McNamee lied to Special Agent Novitzky, Senator Mitchell, Congress, and this jury to avoid being charged with a crime and to gain fame and fortune as a result of the allegations against defendant, the government should be permitted to show that McNamee provided information about the use of HGH by Major League Baseball players Andy Pettitte, Chuck Knoblauch, and Mike Stanton, who all subsequently admitted to Congress (Pettitte and Knoblauch) or to the grand jury (Stanton, Pettitte, and Knoblauch) that the information that McNamee provided about them was accurate,” wrote prosecutors with the District’s U.S. Attorney’s Office, which is handling the case.

“Pettitte’s, Knoblauch’s, and Stanton’s admissions of their illegal behavior to Congress and the grand jury are the functional equivalent of guilty pleas. In the face of the attacks on McNamee’s credibility, that evidence makes it less probable that McNamee was or is simply lying out of self-interest against defendant and thus is relevant. This evidence specifically rebuts the notion that McNamee was biased out of self-interest in defendant’s case because McNamee’s association with these other players at the time he saved defendant’s medical waste, as well as the fact that he had and shared the information about other players at the time he was dealing with law enforcement, at the time of his publicity relating to what he told law enforcement.”

McNamee, a former Major League strength coach who worked with and for Clemens, started testifying on Monday and told jurors that he injected the seven-time Cy Young Award winner with steroids or growth hormone in 1998, 2000 and 2001. Clemens’s lead attorney, Rusty Hardin, began cross-examining him on Tuesday afternoon and has been hammering the former strength coach about inconsistencies in his story and lies he has told over the years.

That cross-examination continues Friday. Federal prosecutors have said they are going to call 14 more witnesses — though they have refused to disclose whom they intend to next put on the witness stand — in a trial that has already drawn sharp criticism from Walton for its sluggish pace. Walton has repeatedly warned lawyers for both sides that jurors are growing restless. He has already excused two jurors for sleeping.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

————————————————————–

To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Roger Clemens trial: Jurors come with questions, and get to ask them

May 15, 2012

The Washington Post on May 14, 2012 released the following:

“By Del Quentin Wilber and Ann E. Marimow,

Jurors wondered whether key evidence might have been planted and if a former drug dealer regretted having “destroyed people’s lives.” And at least one wanted more testimony about a heated discussion that wasn’t fully explored in court.

Those are the types of questions that might pop into the head of a juror during any criminal trial. And that is usually where those questions remain, locked away until jurors are finally permitted to discuss the case during their deliberations.

But in the perjury prosecution of Roger Clemens, jurors have been asking those very questions in court — providing a rare and real-time window into the thought process of the 15 District residents sitting in judgment of one of baseball’s biggest legends. The questions, reviewed by the presiding federal judge before being posed to witnesses, have revealed that at least some jurors seem skeptical of the prosecution and want to know more about off-limits testimony.

The federal judge, Reggie B. Walton, has long advocated engaging jurors more directly in trials by letting them ask questions, and he has told fellow judges that the practice ensures jurors are attentive and properly understand key testimony.

Walton, who has lectured on the topic at the National Judicial College, permitted such questions during another big trial — that of I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby in 2007, a decision that was later hailed as a “terrific idea” by the case’s initially doubtful prosecutor.

In federal court, judges have the authority to allow jurors to query witnesses, though the practice remains uncommon. In recent years, the procedure has gained traction in academic circles and has been occurring with more frequency in state courts, legal experts say.

“The old view of jurors is that they are blank slates,” said Shari Seidman Diamond, a professor at the Northwestern University School of Law. “But they are decision-makers, trying to figure out what is going on. They are trying things out. Questions help them process. This has all kinds of benefits.”

In the Clemens trial, the questioning has worked this way:

After each witness has finished testifying, Walton asks the jury if it has any questions. The 12 jurors and three alternates — one juror has already been excused, for sleeping — represent a broad cross-section of District residents. Among them are a Giant food clerk, a retired political science professor, a former ANC commissioner, a WMATA security officer and a Treasury Department official.

Sometimes jurors submit questions on note cards, sometimes they don’t. Walton then discusses the questions with prosecutors and defense lawyers during a private discussion at the bench, where either side can object to the query. Walton does not pose a question if he feels it is not legally permissible.

This account is based on transcripts of those private bench conferences:

So far, the jurors’ questions indicate that some seem uneasy with aspects of the government’s case. After federal agent Jeff Novitzky testified two weeks ago, for example, a juror asked about the authenticity of evidence that Clemens’s former strength coach, Brian McNamee, turned over to authorities in 2008. The strength coach claims to have injected Clemens with steroids and human growth hormone (HGH) and saved syringes and cotton balls in a crumpled beer can. Prosecutors say scientists have linked Clemens’s DNA and steroids to one syringe found in the can.

“Could this evidence be planted evidence?” one juror wanted to know.

“McNamee had access to [Clemens’s] blood, plus using cotton balls with tissues to wipe it clean, correct?” the juror continued.

“He also had access to needles, is that correct?”

“Is this evidence really conclusive?”

After reading the questions to prosecutors and defense lawyers, Walton said “that’s for them to decide,” meaning the jurors.

“I am not sure any of those questions are appropriate for this particular witness,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven Durham.

Walton sided with Durham and did not ask the questions.

Jurors also wanted to hear more from Andy Pettitte, a former teammate and close friend of Clemens’s who had been considered a key prosecution witness. The left-handed pitcher, who is making a comeback this season after having retired, told jurors that Clemens confided in him during a workout in 1999 or 2000 that he had taken HGH. But on cross-examination, he agreed with a defense attorney that there was a “fifty-fifty” chance he had misheard what Clemens had told him.

During questioning by a prosecutor, Pettitte briefly mentioned that he approached McNamee after Clemens’s revelation and the strength coach got upset. A prosecutor quickly stopped Pettitte from going any further because such testimony would violate hearsay rules.

A juror clearly picked up on the exchange and wanted to know, “When you talked with McNamee about HGH, he got upset. Can you speak about that incident?”

Walton did not ask the question, telling attorneys that he did not “understand the rationale how somehow McNamee’s reaction to what Pettitte tells him helps the jury.”

McNamee took the stand on Monday, and jurors could get the chance to ask the star prosecution witness questions by as early as Tuesday or Wednesday.

Last week, jurors sought clarity from the trial’s most colorful witness, Kirk Radomski, a former steroid supplier who testified in a thick Bronx accent that he sold the drugs to many ballplayers and to McNamee. Jurors wanted to know about a torn address label, among other matters.

In 2008, three years after federal agents raided his home, Radomski found several mailing slips and photographs in an envelope under a television in his bedroom that had been missed in the original search. One of those slips, which was torn and did not include tracking numbers, was addressed to “B. McNamee” at Clemens’ home in the Houston area. Radomski testified that the label belonged to a package of HGH and needles that he sent to McNamee.

A juror wanted to ask Radomski a follow-up question about how he had discovered the labels. And another wanted to know if Radomski had turned over other such slips to authorities in recent years. Walton chose to pose both queries to the former dealer.

Other jurors wanted to know if it was “common for strength and conditioning coaches to deliver steroids or HGH to athletes,” whether Radomski had discussed the case with prosecutors during a recess and how he felt about having “destroyed people’s lives by your actions.”

And, finally, a juror wanted to ask Radomski if he and McNamee had ever discussed Clemens. Michael Attanasio, one of Clemens’s attorneys, told Walton that he thought he had already asked that very question.

“I thought he said no,” Walton said.

“He did.”

“That’s why questions are good,” Walton said, “because sometimes jurors don’t hear it.””

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.