Roger Clemens' perjury trial drags on

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WASHINGTON — In another grueling day of cross-examination that frustrated all sides, Roger Clemens’ accuser put Jose Canseco’s pool party on the wrong day of the week and switched years on Debbie Clemens’ human growth hormone shot.

Whether the jurors were still keeping track is another matter: They again expressed concern about the agonizingly slow pace of a perjury trial that still has weeks to go, and the judge opined that Clemens’ lawyer was “confusing everybody.”

Brian McNamee was on the stand Thursday for a fourth day, holding firm to his testimony that he injected Clemens with steroids from 1998 to 2001 and HGH in 2000. McNamee again conceded that his memory of some details has evolved over the years, and that he initially told some lies during the drugs-in-baseball investigation conducted by federal agents and former Sen. George Mitchell.

Clemens lawyer Rusty Hardin tried to exploit those inconsistencies, even if it meant taking the case far afield from the principle issue of whether Clemens actually used performance-enhancing drugs. The seven-time Cy Young Award-winning pitcher is accused of lying when he testified to Congress in 2008 that he never used steroids or HGH.

The sputtering pace of the trial, now in its fifth week, is taking a noticeable toll on the jury. Two members of the panel already have been dismissed for sleeping, leaving 12 jurors and two alternates. U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton emerged from a morning break and said they’ve been asking again how long the trial will last.

“Jurors have lives they want to get back to,” said Walton, who expects it to last through at least June 8. Walton also sounded incredulous when the government said it had 14 more witnesses to call.

“At this pace,” the judge said, “I’ll guess we’ll be here forever.”


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