Prosecutors want another shot at Clemens

WASHINGTON — Prosecutors pursing a perjury conviction against baseball star Roger Clemens acknowledge they made a critical error that ultimately doomed their high-profile trial but asked a judge for another chance to convict the pitching standout of lying about using performance-enhancing drugs.

The U.S. attorney's office for the District of Columbia filed arguments Friday disputing Clemens' position that a second trial would violate his constitutional protection against double jeopardy by making him face the same charges twice. The filing is the prosecutors' first public admission of fault in the mistrial and first explanation of what went wrong.

The prosecutors wrote it was their duty to make sure that evidence was not included in their exhibits. "The government accepts responsibility for its oversight, and regrets the burdens that error has placed on this court and defendant," they wrote, but argued the mistake was due to the press of other trial matters and was not intentional.

They said it was an oversight that they showed jurors evidence that U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton had ruled inadmissible — evidence that the defendant's teammate told his wife that Clemens had admitted using performance-enhancing drugs.

Clemens had argued the showing of the evidence was a deliberate ploy to invoke a mistrial because the prosecutors' case was going badly. But the prosecutors say their case remains strong and Clemens wants to "gain an unwarranted windfall from this inadvertent error."

That's an important point for the prosecutors to make to the judge, who has scheduled a Sept. 2 hearing on the retrial debate. Normally, when a defendant requests a mistrial, a second trial is not considered double jeopardy. The exception would be when the judge finds prosecutors intentionally provoked a mistrial.

Share This Story