Mistrial declared in Clemens perjury case

A federal judge has declared a mistrial in the perjury case against former pitching star Roger Clemens, who is charged with lying to Congress.

Judge Reggie Walton ruled that prosecutors had ruined Clemens’s ability to get a fair trial when they allowed the jury to see a video of evidence that was inadmissible. He scheduled a hearing for Sept. 2 to determine whether there will be a new trial.

ADVERTISEMENT
The mistrial occurred just a day after opening arguments were made in the case, which centers on testimony Clemens gave to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee in February 2008. Lawmakers referred the Clemens case to the Justice Department after his denial of using performance-enhancing drugs contradicted testimony by his former trainer, Brian McNamee.

"There are rules that we play by and those rules are designed to make sure both sides receive a fair trial," Walton told the jury, according to the Associated Press.

Because prosecutors broke his rules, he said "the ability with Mr. Clemens with this jury to get a fair trial with this jury would be very difficult if not impossible."

Prosecutors had admitted their mistake but wanted Walton to instruct the jury to disregard the video they saw of a congressional hearing rather than declare a mistrial. In the video, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) referenced a conversation between former Yankees pitcher Andy Pettite and his wife, but Walton had said he was likely to disallow testimony from Pettite’s wife, Laura.

The trial was occurring in a Washington courthouse near the Capitol.