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Jury selection to begin in perjury trial of baseball's Roger Clemens

By Larry Lazo, CNN Producer
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Baseball legend Roger Clemens is fighting a six-count federal indictment
  • He faces charges of perjury, making false statement and obstruction of Congress
  • The charges stem from allegations of steroid and human growth hormone use
  • Jury selection is to begin Wednesday

Washington (CNN) -- With jury selection set to get under way Wednesday in the trial of baseball legend Roger Clemens, the judge in the case says he is leaning toward not permitting some of Clemens' former teammates to testify for the prosecution about their history of performance-enhancing drugs.

U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton said testimony from former New York Yankees players Andy Pettitte, Mike Stanton and Chuck Knoblauch could unfairly influence jurors. But the judge said he would make his final decision on their testimony as the trial gets underway.

Clemens is fighting a six-count federal indictment for allegedly misleading members of Congress over use of performance-enhancing drugs.

Prosecutors want testimony from former teammates to add to the credibility of a man likely to be their key witness, Brian McNamee. He is the former strength and conditioning coach who claims to have injected Clemens with steroids and human growth hormone. Those are accusations that Clemens has repeatedly denied.

Clemens' lawyers say McNamee accused their client in order to save himself from having to face drug charges. The prosecution is expected to introduce physical evidence in the form of blood-stained gauze and used needles that they say McNamee allegedly used to inject Clemens.

Clemens is facing charges of perjury, making false statements and obstruction of Congress about his alleged use of steroids and human growth hormone. The former all-star pitcher testified under oath in 2008 that he never used illegal performance-enhancing substances during his 23-year career.

Clemens has never tested positive for drug use, but his name was among the 86 that appeared in a report by former Sen. George Mitchell. The 400-page report listed players who are said to have used drugs to improve their performance on the field.

Meanwhile, at a motions hearing in Washington on Tuesday, Clemens' lawyers said their client "is not a scholar of linguistics," using that phrase to describe Clemens' conversations with former teammate Pettitte. Clemens has been quoted in the past as saying Pettitte "misremembered" when describing conversations about alleged steroid use. Clemens later changed the quote to Pettitte having "misheard" parts of those conversations.

Defense lawyers say what Clemens meant to say all along was that Pettitte misunderstood him.

If convicted, Clemens could face a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and a $1.5 million fine.