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Let’s face it: we’re all pretty sure Roger Clemens took some form of performance-enhancing drugs. But for you lawyers out there who don’t rule in the court of public opinion, Clemens is innocent until proven guilty, and the fact that he actually lied about taking steroids has to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
As the prosecution Clemens’ perjury trial attempted to prove he lied about taking steroids, U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton abruptly halted the proceedings on Thursday and later decided to declare a mistrial at the request of Clemens’ attorney, Rusty Hardin. Why?
Judge Walton felt the prosecution directly disobeyed his orders twice. On Thursday, they were showing jurors video from Clemens’ 2008 testimony in front of Congress. In the video, Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland was speaking, and he referred to Andy Pettitte talking to his wife Laura about Roger’s use of PEDs. Why is this a problem?
Well, prosecutors wanted Laura Pettitte to testify that her husband told her about Clemens’ use of PEDs. The judge ruled that she should not testify because she didn’t speak directly to Clemens. When the judge saw that Laura was mentioned in the video, he ordered that jurors be led out of the court.
“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.
Prosecutors argued that the judge could explain to the jurors to discount any evidence involving Laura Pettitte, but the judge was skeptical. He added that he doesn’t “see how I un-ring the bell.” What’s done is done, I guess.
The other time prosecutors angered the judge was during opening arguments on Wednesday, when they said Clemens’ former Yankee teammates Pettitte, Chuck Knoblauch, and Mike Stanton all admitted to using HGH. The judge dismissed that as a possible way to assume Clemens is guilty by association. At the time, Judge Walton ordered the jury to dismiss the prosecution’s comments about other players.
You better believe this was a waste of taxpayer money. They needed a conviction to make it worth it, but they didn’t even come close to that. There’s probably hundreds of other cases of wasted taxpayer money on useless perjury cases featuring regular citizens, but the Clemens case just magnifies this problem.
Prosecutors worked for three full years to build a case against The Rocket, and they had a very strong one, including needles that contained Roger’s DNA and trace amounts of HGH. Despite that, the idiot prosecutors (who are probably sports fans and let that get the best of them) used two major pieces of inadmissable evidence, which in turn would likely affect the jury’s ruling. Somehow, they completely blew the case on Day 2 of “the trial.” Pathetic.