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A Roger Clemens mistrial? Already?
Just two days into the federal government's perjury case against the former pitcher, Judge Reggie Walton abruptly stopped proceedings, calling attorneys to the bench and then declaring a mistrial.
Prosecutors reportedly presented evidence to the jury about one of Clemens' former teammates that Judge Walton had previously deemed inadmissible.
During pre-trial proceedings, Judge Walton had ruled that the prosecution could not admit incriminating statements made by the wife of Andy Pettitte to U.S. Representative Elijah Cummings during the Congressional investigation into performance enhancing drugs.
Nevertheless, during today's proceedings, the prosecution played a video that included a transcript of those statements, which the New York Times reports caused the Judge to halt proceedings immediately.
Unfortunately, the paper also reports that the video had been paused such that the transcript was frozen on the screen for several minutes.
The reason Judge Walton declared a mistrial has more to do with the nature of the evidence presented than misconduct by the prosecution.
Former Yankee pitcher Andy Pettitte's wife claimed to have a conversation with her husband in which he told her that Clemens had used Human Growth Hormone. While this could be used to reinforce her husband's credibility, such testimony would also be inadmissible hearsay.
It was simply too prejudicial to Clemens to permit into evidence.
Though ordinarily presentation of such evidence wouldn't cause a mistrial, Andy Pettitte's testimony is essential to the government's case, as the Times reports that he was close to Clemens.
In the end, Judge Walton really had no choice but to hand Roger Clemens a mistrial.
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