US judge declares mistrial in Clemens perjury case

WASHINGTON,  (Reuters) – A judge declared a mistrial  yesterday in the perjury trial of baseball great Roger  Clemens, because prosecutors violated an order that barred  certain information from being introduced to the jury.

Judge Reggie Walton was furious at prosecutor Steven Durham  for introducing evidence that appeared to bolster the  credibility of a future witness, Clemens’ former teammate Andy  Pettitte, and referred to Pettitte’s wife, Laura, after the  judge issued an order that limited or barred such information.

“A first year law student would know that you can’t bolster  the credibility of one witness with clearly inadmissible  evidence,” Walton said, raising his voice in anger at Durham.  “I don’t see how I unring the bell.”
The mistrial was a major setback for the government, which  spent a year preparing the case. Four days were spent on  selecting a jury.

Walton said the parties would have to discuss whether  retrying Clemens would violate the constitutional protection  against double jeopardy, which protects an individual from  being tried twice for the same offenses.

A hearing on the double-jeopardy issue will be on Sept. 2  but no new possible trial date was set.

Durham had pressed Walton to instead instruct the jury to  disregard the information which was presented in a video of the  2008 congressional testimony by Clemens to the House of  Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

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