WASHINGTON – After six numbing hours of jury selection Wednesday in the first day of his perjury trial, during which Roger Clemens alternately waved, gnawed upon and rested a manila folder against his face, it seemed the only thing the former pitcher wanted to do was find his ride and get as far away from the courthouse as he could.
If only there was a ride.
So there Clemens stood in the scorching afternoon sun along with his wife, Debbie, and attorney Rusty Hardin, unable to race to a car. He was surrounded by a half circle of roughly 20 photographers and cameramen. Clemens swiveled his head. Hardin grinned though clenched teeth. The camera shutters whirred. A man in Clemens’ party frantically dialed his cell phone.
“Hey!” the man shouted. “Hey.”
Traffic on 3rd Street NW was stopped. People craned their necks out of cars trying to see what was going on.
“Hey, Clemens!” one man shouted, waving his hand.
Clemens did not wave back.
Instead, the bewildered party pushed up the street and toward the wall of photographers. Click, click. click, went the shutters. Clemens stopped. The photographers stopped. Where was that car?
Clemens started up 3rd again, the photographers inching backward along with him. Finally he spotted a black Tahoe with Maryland plates idling at the corner of 3rd and C Street NW. He moved toward it, his wife and Hardin following behind. The doors opened, Clemens and his wife ducked in the back. Hardin climbed through the front passenger door.
“Where were ya!” Clemens said in his Texas drawl to the driver.
“Can’t get down this street,” the flustered driver said, pointing at the rush hour traffic clogging 3rd.
“Can’t get down this street,” Hardin repeated as the door shut and the Tahoe slowly inched around the corner and onto 3rd, which being D.C. at 5 p.m. had all the fluidity of maple syrup. There the Tahoe sat as photographers stood all around, snapping away. Finally, with more pictures than they could have expected, they stopped and began to walk away. One man, clutching a camera, stopped. He turned to the Tahoe, gazed at its slightly tinted windows and waved.
Nobody appeared to wave in return.
Instead, the Tahoe just sat and sat.
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- Roger Clemens
- Rusty Hardin