Thursday, July 14, 2011

Shocking Mistrial Declared in Roger Clemens Perjury Case, Government Has To Start Over

U.S. District Court Judge Reggie Walton declared a mistrial today in the Roger Clemens Federal Perjury trial after lead prosecutors for the government showed a video of Clemens being questioned by Congress in 2008. The prosecution committed a major mistake in leaving in the video crucial pieces of testimony concerning Laura Pettitte, Andy Pettitte's wife.

The reason why this was such a huge mistake by the prosecutors was that Judge Walton had ruled pre-trial that evidence concerning Mrs. Pettitte could not be introduced by the prosecution.  The only way they could was if the Defense brought into question her husband's memory concerning a conversation that he had with Clemens where Clemens admitted taking PEDs.

When the video was shown in the courtroom this morning, the Defense immediately objected and the jury was excused while both sides argued to the judge about its relevance.  The Judge, who appeared to be rather stunned and angry, told the government attorneys that they had directly violated his pre-trial orders and that it was their responsibility alone to make sure that all of their evidence was in line with his pre-trial rulings.

Yesterday, the government attorneys also violated Judge Walton's order that they couldn't bring into evidence that other MLB baseball players had received PEDs from McNamee.  Their opening statement brought the idea that other players would testify to that to the jury, specifically in violation of Judge Walton's ruling.

The court will now have to decide whether the government can re-try Clemens or whether this is over because of double jeopardy.  A mistrial will not prevent the government from pursuing this case further if they are allowed.  They will simply resubmit the case for trial, and a new jury will eventually have to be picked.  However, this doesn't bode well for the lawyers who are currently in charge of the case, as a major mistake like the one today may result in their removal.

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