Jurors deliberate in Clemens' perjury trial

Jurors began the first full session of deliberations on Wednesday in the trial of baseball great Roger Clemens, who faces charges that he lied to Congress about using performance-enhancing drugs.

Clemens - one of the greatest pitchers in Major League Baseball history - did not take the stand in his own defense during the two-month trial.

In closing arguments before the jury met briefly on Tuesday, Clemens' lawyer called the prosecution's main witness a liar, while prosecutors said the record seven-time winner of the Cy Young pitching award lied to protect his legacy.

This is Clemens' second trial on federal charges of lying in 2008 to a congressional committee that was investigating drug use in baseball when he said he did not use performance-enhancing drugs. His first trial ended in a mistrial.

Clemens, 49, faces one count of obstruction of Congress, three counts of making a false statement and two counts of perjury. He has pleaded not guilty. convicted, he faces a maximum prison term of 30 years, though under federal sentencing guidelines he most likely would get 15 to 21 months.

The lengthy trial featured 46 witnesses over 26 days of testimony. The proceedings were so labored at some stages that two jurors were dismissed for falling asleep, and U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton warned lawyers on both sides about the slow pace.

Known as "The Rocket," for his wins of 354 regular season games, Clemens played for four teams over a 24-year career.

A key element jurors will consider centers on the testimony of Brian McNamee, Clemens' former trainer and the most important prosecution witness who has said he personally injected Clemens with anabolic steroids and human growth hormone (HGH) between 1998 and 2001.

Clemens' lawyers have worked to portray McNamee as unreliable and a liar. They argue McNamee's testimony cannot be believed "beyond a reasonable doubt," the standard jurors must apply when judging whether or not Clemens is guilty.

McNamee has admitted to mixing evidence eventually used against Clemens and lying to investigators about the number of times he allegedly injected Clemens. Testimony from his wife has contradicted his account of keeping the evidence, a batch of medical waste, that he turned in to authorities.

Prosecutors argue that it was Clemens who weaved an "entangled web of lies" to protect his reputation. Clemens chose McNamee to be his trainer used the former strength and conditioning coach for access to steroids and human growth hormone, they argued.

McNamee worked with Clemens when the pitcher played for the Toronto Blue Jays and later the New York Yankees.

McNamee has testified that he kept needles, cotton balls, a broken steroid ampoule and other medical waste from injections for Clemens. Prosecutors have said some of the items contained Clemens' DNA and traces of steroids.

(Editing by Jackie Frank)