Govt witness links medical waste to Clemens DNA

Associated Press Modified: May 26, 2012 at 3:01 am •  Published: May 26, 2012

WASHINGTON (AP) — A prosecution witness told jurors that Roger Clemens DNA' showed up on two cotton balls and one needle allegedly used for a steroids injection of the famed pitcher. He then spent almost the entire day fielding questions from lawyers for both sides and from jurors.

The jury seemed to realize this was a critical moment in the case and sent a host of questions for U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton to ask the witness, Alan Keel of Forensic Science Associates. It took more than an hour just to handle their inquiries — far more than the jury's questions for other witnesses.

Walton is rare among judges in allowing jurors to pose questions, and he and the lawyers screen them in bench conferences for legal propriety to determine which ones Walton will ask.

The government had hoped to wrap up its case Friday, but the lengthy appearance by Keel made that impossible.

In addition, Walton ended the session a half-hour early when one of the jurors learned that her mother had died. The judge said he doesn't expect the juror, a female who works in law enforcement with the local public transportation authority, to return. Two jurors have previously been dismissed for sleeping, and another departure would leave only one alternate in a trial expected to last at least two more weeks.

Clemens, a seven-time Cy Young Award winner, is accused of lying to Congress when he denied using steroids or human growth hormone.

Keel testified that one of the cotton balls had a random match possibility of one in 15.4 trillion for Clemens' DNA, and the other had one in 173 trillion, when comparing to the population of white people in the U.S. Keel said that meant the matches were "unique to one person who has ever lived on the planet" — Clemens.

The needle was not as conclusive, because Keel was able to detect only six to 12 cells for testing when he examined it. A drop of blood, by comparison, contains up to 30,000 cells. This was one in 449 for Clemens.

"That means that Mr. Clemens is the likely source of that biology," Keel said.

Jurors submitted multiple questions about the needle results.

"There's the rub," said Keel as he explained again that the results were compatible with Clemens — but couldn't be considered a conclusive match.

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