Roger Clemens jurors: Key witness in perjury trial, Brian McNamee, not credible

June 27, 2012

When the jury of a dozen Washingtonians finally began deliberating the perjury case against baseball legend Roger Clemens after nine grueling weeks, it came down to one question: Who lied?

Jurors interviewed Wednesday after the star pitcher’s acquittal June 18 said it did not take long for the panel to decide that the government’s key witness, Clemens’s former strength coach Brian McNamee, had too much baggage to be trusted.

“His story should not have changed so many times,” said juror Joyce Robinson-Paul, a political activist in the District. “It kept vacillating, it kept changing. It was just incredible.”

Clemens was cleared of all charges of lying to Congress when he denied in 2008 that he had used performance-enhancing drugs during his 24-year career. In more than two months of testimony, jurors heard from former baseball players, a housekeeper and the wives of the pitcher and McNamee.

The eight-woman, four-man jury included a broad spectrum of District residents: an art historian, a D.C. government employee, a Treasury Department official and a teacher of deaf children. Most were not baseball fans.

U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton agreed to release the names of jurors Wednesday in response to a request filed by The Washington Post. Most of the jurors contacted did not respond to phone messages or e-mails. Those who agreed to interviews wondered why the federal government had prosecuted the case for so long on such flimsy evidence.

“We were asking ourselves, ‘Why did they just continue to carry this on for so long? Why for five years? It just seemed out of proportion” to the alleged crime, a female juror said. The Post generally does not name jurors without their consent.

“The witnesses for the prosecution were — uh, how does one put it? — kind of wanting, if you will,” juror Bradford Weaver told the Associated Press. “It was quite lacking.”

McNamee was the only witness to testify to firsthand knowledge of Clemens’s alleged use of steroids and human growth hormone. Jurors thought it significant that McNamee turned over to federal agents a needle and cotton balls from the alleged injections only after he became upset with Clemens.

Robinson-Paul called the physical evidence against Clemens “flaky” and said jurors were convinced that McNamee and his wife, Eileen, were angry with the ballplayer and that the items were essentially “blackmail.”

“We felt the government did not prove their case,” Robinson-Paul said. “Not by a long shot.”

Ann covers legal affairs in the District and Maryland for the Washington Post. Ann previously covered state government and politics in California, New Hampshire and Maryland. She joined the Post in 2005.
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