Judge Declares Mistrial In Roger Clemens Perjury Case

Comes Down Hard On Prosecution After It Shows 2008 Congress Video

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork / AP) — The judge presiding over Roger Clemens’ perjury trial has declared a mistrial over over inadmissible evidence shown to jurors that could have prejudiced them against the former Yankees star.

WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell: The Judge Said Not To Go There

“In the United States of America we try to ensure that everybody that comes into our courthouse is treated fairly,” U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton said. “I have no alternative, despite the tremendous loss of time, effort and money.”

Walton scolded prosecutors for twice violating his orders not to reveal certain evidence to the jury and said it put the whole case at risk. He took a short recess Thursday morning to consider how to rule on a motion for a mistrial from Clemens’ attorney Rusty Hardin.

When Walton returned, he made it official: mistrial.

He said that because prosecutors broke his rules, “the ability… to get a fair trial with this jury would be very difficult if not impossible.”

LISTEN: Newsday’s Jim Baumbach with WFAN’s Marc Malusis moments after the mistrial decision

Defense attorney Hardin patted an unsmiling Clemens on the back as the judge announced his decision. Clemens did not speak to reporters as he left the courtroom and made a telephone call in a private corner of the hallway.

Clemens and his lawyers remain under a court gag order and they declined to comment as they left the courthouse. Clemens hugged a couple of court workers, shook hands with the security guards and signed autographs and a couple of baseballs for fans.

“I’m not going to say anything,” Clemens said, sounding frustrated at the mass of reporters and camera crews. He and his legal team ducked into a nearby restaurant to escape the horde of news people.

A Sept. 2 hearing was set to determine whether to hold a new trial.

Prosecutors suggested the problem could be fixed with an instruction to the jury to disregard the evidence, but Walton seemed skeptical. He said he could never know what impact the evidence would have during the jury’s deliberations “when we’ve got a man’s liberty at interest.”

“I don’t see how I un-ring the bell,” said Walton.

Walton interrupted the prosecution’s playing of a video from Clemens’ 2008 testimony before Congress and had the jury removed from the courtroom. Clemens was accused of lying during that testimony when he said he never used performance-enhancing drugs during his 24-season career in the Major Leagues.

One of the chief pieces of evidence against Clemens is testimony from his former teammate and close friend, Andy Pettitte, who says Clemens told him in 1999 or 2000 that he used human growth hormone. Clemens has said that Pettitte misheard him. Pettitte also also says he told his wife, Laura, about the conversation the same day it happened.

Prosecutors had wanted to call Laura Pettitte as a witness to back up her husband’s account, but Walton had said he wasn’t inclined to have her testify since she didn’t speak directly to Clemens.

Walton was angered that in the video prosecutors showed the jury, Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., referred to Pettitte’s conversation with his wife.

“I think that a first-year law student would know that you can’t bolster the credibility of one witness with clearly inadmissible evidence,” Walton said.

He said it was the second time that prosecutors had gone against his orders — the other being an incident that happened during opening arguments Wednesday when assistant U.S. attorney Steven Durham said that Pettite and two other of Clemens’ New York teammates, Chuck Knoblauch and Mike Stanton, had used human growth hormone.

Walton said in pre-trial hearings that such testimony could lead jurors to consider Clemens guilty by association. Clemens’ defense attorney objected when Durham made the statement and Walton told jurors to disregard Durham’s comments about other players.

There was no objection from Clemens’ team during the Laura Pettitte reference, but the judge stopped the proceedings, called attorneys up to the bench and spoke to them privately for several minutes. Hardin pointed out during that time, the video remained frozen on the screen in front of jurors with a transcript of what was being said on the bottom.

Cummings had been quoting from Laura Pettitte’s affidavit to the committee. “I, Laura Pettitte, do depose and state, in 1999 or 2000, Andy told me had a conversation with Roger Clemens in which Roger admitted to him using human growth hormones,” the text on the screen read.

Walton later told jurors: “We have taken a week out of your life to reach this point. When a judge makes rules regarding evidence that can or cannot be presented to the jury … there is an obligation of the lawyers to comply.”

Your thoughts on the Clemens development? Sound off in the comments below…

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

More from Peter Haskell
  • M.A.D


  • L.W.F.

    This is a waste of everyone’s time and our monies. Let’s leave the steroid issue behind us and for God sakes… Leave the “he said she said” along with it. IT’S OVER. MOVE ON. LEAVE ROGER BE.

  • dabooch

    Roger ‘the dodger’ he could step in DS and still come out smelling out like a rose. Roger pitched eight years extra, made at least 75M-100M, lied to congress, and walks out of court a free man to date.

  • Al Cinelli

    This trial is a waiste of tax payers money. What is to be gained by this prosecution other than the DA’s getting publicity for getting a well known figure. Growth hormone is produced naturally in the body. There is no evidence that it is a performance enhancer like steroids. Growth hormone declines as an individual ages. Many people take growth hormone to maintain their growth hormone levels so that it will be effective in the repair of damagd cells.

  • Bill N AZ

    Before I can even get my head around the issue of a mistrial I need to make myself believe this backwater sludge that considers itself the ruling class congress has the moral high ground to charge anyone with lying to them..!!?? this worthless pack of slime should be paper trained before their even allowed indoors…

  • Paul K

    Corrupt court system, yet another violation of our rights. Add it to the list of gov’t violations of our rights:
    They violate the 1st Amendment by placing protesters in cages, banning books like “America Deceived II” and censoring the internet.
    They violate the 2nd Amendment by confiscating guns.
    They violate the 4th and 5th Amendment by molesting airline passengers.
    They violate the entire Constitution by starting undeclared wars for foreign countries.
    Impeach Obama, vote for Ron Paul.
    (Last link of Banned Book):

  • Ellen

    Good for the judge for being fair in this case. If the prosecution let evidence in that could have been prejudicial against Clements then a miss-trial was indeed called for.

    • Ralph E Berkeypile Jr

      Nonsense. The only reason the judge declared a mistrial is because he had an indication that the jury was going to decide not guilty. Remember Ellen, nearly a 99% conviction rate. This signifies nothing else but a completely compromised judiciary.

  • DaveRB

    Regardless of whether or not the charges against Roger Clemens are dropped for having “lied” to the Feds, I would like to see We The People bring up charges against the Feds for all of the many, many lies that they have told to the American people for decades and decades.

  • Big Mike

    I’m not a baseball fan but Roger Clemens NEVER should have been put through this. When the people of a society are prosecuted for the same behavior that our leaders exhibit day in and day out, we are no longer living in a democracy.

  • steamdwarf

    with all the deficit problems today why are taxpayers having to foot the bill to prosecute such minor stuff?

  • Ben M.

    Remind me why Congress is having hearings on baseball in the first place? Putting this guy in that situation and nearly taking away his freedom seems a bit ridiculous to me.

  • no sheep

    Congress lies to the public on a regular basis and its illegal for “the people” to lie to Congress. How idiotic! Congress is the reason why th U.S. is lurching toward failure.

  • bondservant

    this is all a waste – it should be between baseball and Clemens. The government shouldn’t have any role in this (and my guess is they don’t have the right to be involved either)

    Marion Jones, Martha Stewart – none of them should have gone to jail

    • Ralph E Berkeypile Jr

      You`re absolutley right. People, I urge you to wake up. The federal courts have a nearly 99% conviction rate. Do you actually believe that 99% of all accused are guilty? The judges are totally corrupt. Mosty of the time the courts have no jurisidction to hold a trial in the first place. There are no fair trials on the federal level and most of the crimes being charged aren`t crimes at all. Corpus delicti requires a victim. If there is no victim, there is no crime. I was on the jury for a man who was accused of driving without a license and without a seatbelt. He was pulled over for the seatbelty violation. I found not guilty, because of a total lack of corpus delicti. No victim = no crime= the accused is innocent. People, if you`re on a jury and there is no victim, how could you choose to put a non-violent person behind bars?

  • Dew

    I’ll assume the evidence withheld was evidence that would have convicted Clemens for perjury. Again our renown justice system allows the bigger fish to walk! No wounder Obama wants terrorists to be judged in America,

  • Ralph E Berkeypile Jr

    Using performance enhancing drugs is not a crime. It can`t be made a crime, because there is no victim. Lying to congress is not a crime. It can`t be made a crime, becasue there is no victim. For there to be a crime, there must be corpus delicti. Corpus delicti, no matter hwere you are, has at least 2 elements: 1) the violation of an individual right 2) fact of injury, loss,or harm. There`s no way that the prosecution can prove it suffered injury and violation of it`s rights, so there is no standing. The court has no discretion in this matter. Absent a crime there is no standing and the court lacks jurisdiction and the judge must dismiss.

  • Whitey

    White justice!!!!!!!!

  • Charles Flitcraft

    Finally a judge who follows the law and actually penalizes out of bounds behavior by attorneys. I hope these guys get fired for their egregious court conduct.

  • Chuck Varrick

    Stop the witch hunt. Clemens is honest and telling the truth and obama is the liar. Prosecute obama!

  • Bob Popp

    Marion Jones went to prison for the same thing (lying to Congress), Clemens has not been punished enough. Not even close.

  • Buffal0Bill

    Why is our government wasting all this money trying a guy for lying to Congress about something that wasn’t illegal at the time he was alleged to have done it? It is apparent that the American people no longer believe their Representatives and Senators anyway.

  • 3540la

    Who the HELL cares???? Let baseball handle it if they want to. How come we can’t lie to congress but they can lie to us every time they open their mouths?

  • Peter Davies

    The fact his case was declared a mistrial should not let Clemens off the hook. He’s a liar, a cheat, and making an example of him might save lives.


    • Chuck Varrick

      Go after Clemens after you go after Charlie Rangel, Maxine Waters and obama. They lie and steal millions from taxpayers. Clemens didn’t.

  • Don in Costa Mesa

    There is no constitutional authority for the government to prosecute anyone for something he does to himself. The entire drug war is unconstitutional and immoral. All drugs should be re-legalized.

    What is the REAL MOTIVATION is for this prosecution. It CAN’T be for “lying to prosecutors” —— that’s not mentioned in the Constitution, either.

    The government lies to US constantly.

    Lying to THEM should be a sacrament.

  • Dwight E. Howell

    Waste of money.

  • J. Manning Regan

    The Judge’s ruling is correct. What’s more he should have found the prosecution attorneys in contempt, and ordered them to show cause why they should not be fined and jailed for such conduct. If a defense attorney had acted as the prosecutors did, he or she would already be in jail. What a witness says another witness said is pure hearsay and always inadmissible, and the prosecutors knew it. It was their intent to prejudice the Jury and for that they deserve punishment.

  • Barry Bin Inhalin

    A galactic waste of time, money and court time. Lying to Congress? They lie to the American people each and every day, I could care less what Roger does/did – it’s his arse.

  • Lornie Sipes

    If Clemons used drugs, he should be taken out of the record books and not even considered for the hall of fame. They should establish another hall, a hall of shame, for cheaters who used enhancing drugs….

  • hington ton

    If the jokers at the injustice department want to do something worth their paychecks, they should investigate FDR and his minions.

  • Don

    All of the steroid allegations should never have been brought before Congress. Baseball itself should have penalized players. All they have done by not dealing with steroids, is cause players to lie to Congress and face jail time. I really don’t think this was the way to handle all of this. I personally think baseball and especially club owners were incensed that a west coast player like Barry Bonds was going to smash all the records. So they conspired to destroy him. It should have been handled by baseball commissioner. I don’t think it would have been an issue if it was a NY Yankee getting all the records. Clemens should never have said anything.

  • Duane

    Why was it that when Bill Clinton lied to a grand jury it wasn’t perjury, but if Clemeans lied to Congress about something that wasn’t illegal at the time he gets put on trial by the justice department? STOP wasting our time and OUR money.

  • villa rios

    If we had lawyers, bureaucrats and politicians with an ounce of integrity there would be not waste of time, effort and money. The judge had no choice. But the megalomaniacs in the “legal” and political fields are the ones at fault. They are the criminals allowed to destory this country. If they would stick to their constitutional roles — an impossibility given their enormous egos — we wouldn’t be in this financial mess of their making, they wouldn’t be grandstanding at the expense of Clemens and others.

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