The Roger Clemens Trial: Day 1

Recalling what a total nut Roger Clemens is, yesterday I figured that his perjury trial would be a wild ride. Based on its first day, things are setting up that way. Clemens’ former Yankees teammates Andy Pettite, Chuck Knoblauch, and Mike Stanton are all likely to testify, and yesterday we learned that Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Rafael Palmeiro, Jose Canseco, and Jorge Posada, among others, might also be referenced or called to the stand — and that’s just by the prosecution. In his defense, Clemens said he may call upon David Cone and Wade Boggs to testify (I assume that Boggs always eats a ritual chicken dinner before serving as a witness).

Other than that, the first day of Clemens’ trial was filled with jury selection and wrangling over whether Congress would release a recording of a private House deposition where Clemens told lawmakers that he did not use performance enhancing drugs. Clemens’ lawyer, Rusty Hardin (please note: that is his real name, not a porn pseudonym, though it should be), argues that the lion’s share of the Rocket’s 15 alleged false statements stem from that pre-hearing deposition and not the much ballyhooed public testimony that followed. Hardin says he wants jurors to be able to hear the tone of Clemens’ voice from the exchange, but right now, all the House has released is a written transcript and, for boring reasons that could easily be construed as emblematic of our sclerotic and bureaucracy laden lawmaking system, seems to be having a hard time coughing up the audio.

According to reports, Clemenswas fairly straight-faced during the proceedings, with one exception during jury selection. ESPN’s T.J. Quinn reported:

Jurors were asked about their knowledge of those figures as well as their feelings about the case, baseball, Congress and the law. They were asked whether they played organized sports, read sports news or were baseball fans. One woman was not. “I can’t imagine spending money to watch a sport where guys scratch themselves and spit a lot,” she said, drawing a smile from Clemens.

Ah yes, if there’s anything Roger can identify with, it’s scratching himself and spitting.