The judge presiding over Roger Clemens' perjury trial declared a mistrial over evidence revealed to the jury that he believed would prejudice the jury against the former baseball star.
U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton scolded prosecutors for twice violating his orders not to reveal certain evidence to the jury and said it could put the whole case at risk. He took a recess Thursday morning to consider how to rule on a motion for a mistrial from Clemens' attorney Rusty Hardin.
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," he said.
Walton interrupted the prosecution's playing of a video from Clemens' 2008 testimony before Congress and had the jury removed from the courtroom. Clemens is 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.