Cle­mens makes his pitch

The Kansas City Star (Sunday) - - DAILY DEUCE -

Roger Cle­mens put his right hand on the lectern, leaned down to­ward the mi­cro­phone and made what might be the most im­por­tant call of his life: “Not guilty, your honor.”

Those words, ut­tered Mon­day in a strong, con­fi­dent voice marked the of­fi­cial be­gin­ning of a court case that could taint base­ball even fur­ther and land the “Rocket,” a seven-time Cy Young Award win­ner, in jail.

U.S. District Judge Reg­gie Wal­ton presided over an ar­raign­ment hear­ing that lasted less than 14 min­utes in the cer­e­mo­nial court­room at the fed­eral courthouse, across the street from the Capi­tol.

Wal­ton set April 5 as the start of jury se­lec­tion — the Mon­day of the first full week of the 2011 base­ball sea­son, and also around the time a case in­volv­ing Barry Bonds, the all-time home-run king, could be wrap­ping up in San Fran­cisco.

Cle­mens and Bonds, who chased his­tory on the field through­out their ca­reers, now could be chas­ing his­tory off it.

They are both in jeop­ardy of be­com­ing the first base­ball star jailed be­cause of a con­vic­tion re­lated to per­for­mance-en­hanc­ing-drugs.

If con­victed of six counts — three of mak­ing false state­ments, two of per­jury and one of ob­struc­tion of Congress — Cle­mens could face up to 30 years in prison and a $1.5 mil­lion fine.

KATHY WIL­LENS | THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Kim Cli­jsters, who re­turned a shot to Greta Arn dur­ing their first-round match at the U.S. Open in New York, fal­tered a lit­tle in the sec­ond set but looked solid over­all in the first match of her ti­tle de­fense.

Cle­mens

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