Roger Clemens must stand trial again for lying about drug use, a federal judge has ruled, saying a second trial would not violate the former Major League Baseball star's constitutional protection against double jeopardy.
U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton defended his decision Friday to give prosecutors a second chance to present their evidence that Roger Clemens lied to the U.S. Congress, reportedly saying that their mishandling of evidence during a July mistrial "occurred too early in proceedings for him to conclude prosecutors were concerned about the jury or course of the trial," the Houston Chronicle reports.
He also said that under current law he couldn't cite double jeopardy — the right of Americans not to face the same charges twice — to bar a new trial, even if prosecutors intentionally introduced evidence he had deemed inadmissible.
Walton set a new trial for April 17, and said that Clemens must expedite any appeal request.
Clemens attorney Michael Attanasio argued that prosecutors didn't deserve a new trial because they used a "win-at-all-costs strategy" by intentionally causing a mistrial.
"It's a reward for the government with a second trial," Attanasio said, AFP reports. "He was a great baseball player. He doesn't deserve that."
Walton expressed concern about prosecutors' presentation of inadmissible evidence, which they assert was accidental but which led to the mistrial.
According to USA Today, Walton ruled in July that federal prosecutors "offered previously banned evidence that sought to bolster the credibility of a key government witness and Clemens' former teammate, Andy Pettitte."
Pettitte's role in the case is central to the government's contention that Clemens used performance enhancing drugs and later lied about it in 2008 to congressional investigators and to members of Congress during a public hearing before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. At the time, the congressional panel was conducting an inquiry into the use of steroids in Major League Baseball.
Walton reportedly said Friday that:
"I am very troubled. A tremendous court time has been consumed... it cost Mr. Clemens a lot of money. This should not have happened."
However, he said, he could not legally throw out the indictment.