Judge Declares Mistrial In Roger Clemens’ Perjury Case
Earlier today U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton declared a mistrial in Roger Clemens’ perjury case after jurors were shown evidence questioning the credibility of a key witness in the case.
As Walton later said in the courtroom, “I think that a first-year law student would know that you can’t bolster the credibility of one witness with clearly inadmissible evidence,” but that didn’t stop prosecutors from showing a video displaying written comments by Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, D-Md., during a 2008 House hearing in which Clemens testified he never used steroids or other performance-enhancing drugs. Cummings’ comments were regarding a conversation that Andy Pettite had with his wife after Clemens had admitted to his former teammate that he used PEDs.
Prosecutors had originally intended to call Laura Pettite to the stand as a witness to support her husband’s testimony, but Walton did not allow this because she hadn’t spoken directly to Clemens, therefore, her testimony would only serve the purpose of bolstering the credibility of a key witness, her husband Andy.
While the prosecution played a video of Clemens’ 2008 house hearing, a reference was made by Cummings regarding the discussion between Laura and Andy. The defense did not object to it, but at that point Walton stopped the proceedings and called both attorneys to his bench. They spoke for several minutes, but when they were done Clemens’ attorney, Rusty Hardin, had pointed out that the video and the transcript had remained on the screen for the jury to see the entire time. It read, “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.”
Judge Walton then asked the jury to leave while he discussed the issue. He later decided to declare the case a mistrial, saying the following:
“We have taken about a week out of your life. We expended a lot of your taxpayers money to reach this point. Unfortunately there are rules we play by and those rules are designed to ensure that both parties receive a fair trial.”
Walton also scheduled a September 2nd hearing to determine whether or not they could/should hold a new trial.
That makes it two failures by the U.S. Criminal Justice System in the last week-and-a-half. I guess now is a great time to be a criminal in America.
Hat Tip – [TSN.ca]