The perjury trial of Roger Clemens sped along Tuesday morning after a federal judge sternly chided prosecutors and defense attorneys for going so slowly that they were boring jurors.
“Look at those people,” U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton told the lawyers, gesturing toward an empty jury box before proceedings began.
“Those folk are fed up,” Walton said. “You are boring the jurors. Somebody is going to pay a price for that.”
Walton said a juror apparently approached a law clerk to ask if they would ever be advised what the charges were because there seemed to be some confusion in the jury room. The judge felt that such a question posed a concern because it showed the jurors were talking before being sent to deliberate.
They case has been a slog the last few days as prosecutors introduced scientific evidence, photos and records.
“When you create a boring environment, which is being created in this case, it precipitates jurors to start talking about the case,” Walton said. “They are bored.”
He then brought the 12 jurors and four alternates into the room, admonishing them not to discuss the case until deliberations began.
Walton also dealt a setback to prosecutors by blocking them from introducing Clemens’s 1984 contract with the Boston Red Sox, his first Major League Baseball team.
Defense lawyers argued that the contract might prejudice jurors against baseball’s most decorated pitcher because he made so much money during his career. Prosecutors said they wanted to introduce the contract to help show that Clemens took steroids and Human Growth Hormone (HGH) to help extend his career.
But Walton said prosecutors’ case had a hole: They have no actual evidence that will show Clemens thought taking steroids might extend his career.
Another problem, the judge said, is that the last time prosecutors allege that Clemens took performance-enhancing drugs was 2001. “The Rocket” would go on to pitch until 2007.
“It’s a real flaw in your theory of him allegedly using [steroids] to extend his career if during the last six or seven years of his career there is no evidence he was using,” Walton said.
Clemens is being tried in the District’s federal court on charges he lied to Congress in 2008 when he denied ever having taken performance-enhancing drugs. Prosecutors allege that his former strength coach, Brian McNamee, injected him with such substances in 1998, 2000 and 2001.
After being admonished to speed up the trial, prosecutors called three trainers who worked with Clemens’s teams in Boston and Toronto.
The trainers all testified that they never injected Clemens with the pain killer lidocaine or the vitamin B-12, and that trainers and strength coaches did not have the authority to inject players with such medications. Clemens has contended that he received such injections from McNamee.
Before breaking for lunch, Melvin Thomas Craig, a former trainer on the Blue Jays, was testifying about treating Clemens for an abscess in his right buttocks in 1998. Medical records indicate that the abscess developed after a B-12 injection by a team doctor.
But McNamee has testified that he believed the abscess was created by a sloppy steroid injection, though he told Congressional investigators that the boil developed in the left buttocks, not the right.