Drug Law

Shocker: Judge Declares Mistrial in Roger Clemens Trial

| by Mark Berman Opposing Views

A shocker at the Roger Clemens perjury trial -- the judge declared a mistrial during just the second day of testimony. For the second time in the young trial, prosecutors presented evidence that the judge had previously ruled could not be told to the jury.

On Thursday the prosecution was playing video of Clemens's testimony to Congress. The portion included a reference to a conversation his former good friend Andy Pettitte had with his wife, in which he told her that Clemens told him that Clemens had used human growth hormones.

U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton had ruled that the conversation was inadmissible, since Laura Pettitte never spoken directly to Clemens about the alleged HGH use. For his part, Clemens has claimed that Andy Pettitte "misremembered" the conversation.

In any case, the judge decided this could prejudice the jury, so he declared a mistrial. Prosecutors tried to persuade him just to tell jurors to disregard what they heard. But Walton said, "I don't see how I un-ring the bell."

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This was the second misstep by prosecutors. During opening statements on Wednesday, prosecutors mentioned that Pettitte and two other former Yankees teammates had used HGH. The judge had previously banned such talk, ruling that it could lead the jury to assume that Clemens used HGH as well. The defense objected, and the judge told the jury to disregard it.

So what happens now? Well, ESPN.com is reporting that Clemens attorney Rusty Hardin is expected to file a motion claiming that a second trial would amount to double jeopardy for Clemens. If the government fights such a motion, a hearing would be held on September 2 for the judge to decide.