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Clemens jury is predominantly women
The jury of Roger Clemens’ peers includes a yoga instructor, a Philadelphia Eagles fan and a cousin of former major leaguer Al Bumbry.
But when the perjury and obstruction trial of the seven-time Cy Young Award winner commences Wednesday with opening statements, the jury pool will strikingly lack one segment of the population: males.
The Clemens jury is made up of 10 women and two men and is largely African-American.
“They got rid of most of the men and ended up with mostly a black jury,” said Mark Johnson, a white male who also was dismissed.
Sitting in the back of Courtroom 16 at U.S. District Court after his dismissal, Johnson said he had an idea why prosecutors might not want male sports fans on the panel.
“My theory was that they were looking for people who weren’t necessary sports fans who could be sympathetic to a guy who stuck his neck out a little too far,” said Johnson, who regularly attends Washington Nationals games.
Given Washington’s racial demographics — 50.7 percent of the population is black, according to the 2010 census — Carl Tobias, a professor at the University of Richmond (Va.) School of Law, wasn’t surprised by the jury’s racial makeup.
He was surprised, however, that there were so many women.
“It’s high,” Tobias said of the percentage of women on the jury. “It should be closer to 50-50. This strikes me as rather atypical.”
The pool of 37 qualified jurors was whittled to the final 12-member panel and four alternates, with each side using all their strikes to disqualify potential jurors. After hanging around the courthouse the better part of four days, at least one banished juror wishes she had been kept on — even if the trial stretched on for weeks.
“Honestly, for me it would have sucked for work,” said Monu Harnal, another yoga instructor. “I really wanted to do my civic duty. It was still amazing to sit through that. I was a little disappointed when I wasn’t picked.”
Clemens ruffled through binders and took notes Tuesday as jury selection stretched into its fourth day. The 48-year-old appeared to wear a yellow Power Balance bracelet on his left wrist. The bracelets have become increasingly popular among athletes who believe the bands give them some sort of an edge — even if unsubstantiated by any studies.
There’s little doubt an athlete could have received some help from the substances Clemens told a congressional subcommittee more than three years ago that he did not use. Clemens denied using steroids or human growth hormone, charges made by his former friend and personal trainer, Brian McNamee.
Prosecutors will get the first crack at opening statements Wednesday morning as they preview their case and present why Clemens deserves to be convicted on all six charges, which could send the former pitcher to prison for up to 21 months. The trial is expected to last four to six weeks, and among the dozens of witnesses who could be called are former and current Major League players such as Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa and Jorge Posada.
Based on statements made by lead attorney Rusty Hardin, it looks like Clemens’ side might argue the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform overstepped its mandate by calling hearings on the use of steroids. It’s also likely Clemens’ lawyers will attack the credibility of McNamee and other potential government witnesses likely to be called.
Hardin also asked several potential jurors how they would feel if Clemens doesn’t testify, which could mean the former pitcher might not take the stand in his defense.
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