Continued from page 1

In the lunchroom, Clemens offered no comment, other than a friendly “Hey, how ya doing,” to an Associated Press reporter. Hardin also didn’t comment, saying he didn’t want to violate the gag order Walton has imposed on those involved in the trial.

Before the short hearing, Clemens could be seen striding between meeting rooms on the sixth floor as Hardin and prosecuting attorneys Daniel Butler and Steven Durham exchanged discovery documents.

Then, Clemens walked into the 300-seat chamber, adorned with statues depicting ancient arbiters of justice and portraits of former federal judges. He adjusted his cuffs and collar a few times, said a word or two to Hardin, sat down, then stood when Walton entered.

Hardin waived his client’s right to have the charges read, then Walton asked for Clemens‘ plea.

“Not guilty, your honor,” he said, before going back to the defense table where he sat still while the lawyers and judge parsed over hearing dates and discovery issues.

Clemens was released with no bail and no real restrictions. His only discernible reaction came when Durham asked that the court hold his passport, and Clemens turned to one of his attorneys and shook his head.

“I think he’s well-known enough that if he were to depart the country, someone would know who he is,” Walton said.

The case has been portrayed, probably simplistically, as one of Clemens‘ word against those who gave unfriendly testimony against him in Congress. The key figures there are his former trainer Brian McNamee, who said the pitcher did use steroids and HGH. Former teammate Andy Pettitte also told congressional investigators that Clemens told him he had used HGH _ a conversation Clemens said Pettitte “misremembers.”

But in asking to push the start of the trial to next year _ with the agreement of the prosecutors _ Hardin said there is much scientific evidence to comb through, as well, including presumably the syringes McNamee says he used to inject Clemens with drugs.

On Monday, Hardin was given access to the grand jury testimony and FBI interviews that were used to indict Clemens, along with a 34-page master index and 12 computer discs of evidence. Durham called the evidence “voluminous.”

“There’s a good deal of scientific evidence that needs to be tested,” Hardin told the judge. “We’re at the mercy of the experts.”

While the crux of the case is whether Clemens used steroids or HGH, any conviction would have to come on evidence that he lied to Congress about it. It’s a sort of backdoor way that authorities have used to ensnare some of America’s most high-profile athletes who have been accused of using PEDs.

Sprinter Marion Jones went to jail when, threatened with years in prison because of an illegal check-writing scheme, she finally admitted to lying about drugs, too.

The Bonds case is also a perjury case, set to start March 21. He has pleaded not guilty to charges that he lied to a grand jury in December 2003 when he testified that he never knowingly used performance-enhancing drugs.

As Clemens hustled out of the courtroom, he was followed by at least 50 reporters, then met by 100 more cameramen. Two security guards trying to help him out of the building and into his waiting Escalade nearly tackled the pitcher as they tried to keep onlookers at bay.

Story Continues →