Judge Declares a Mistrial in Clemens Case

Well that was fast. We’ve heard about the government’s case against Roger Clemens for months and it has picked up in recent days with jury selection and the beginning of the trial but just like that, it’s over. And it’s because the prosecutors royally screwed up.

I don’t know much in the ways of law except for the dozens of episodes of Law and Order I’ve watched, but even I know that when a judge tells you not to present something to the jury, you can’t just ignore his orders. And that’s what the prosecutors did.

Andy Pettite says that he had a conversation where Clemens admitted to taking human growth hormone (HGH). Pettite told prosecutors that he relayed that conversation to his wife, Laura. The U.S. government wanted to put on Laura on the stand to testify to this, but Judge Reggie B. Nelson ruled the evidence inadmissible as it is hearsay. From everything I’ve watched on tv and read about hearsay, it’s a correct and straightforward ruling. The prosecutors should have expected it and abided by it.

But then came today’s openings statements. Prosecutors showed the jury a video of Clemens’s testimony in front of Congress from 2008. In the video, Representative Elijah Cummings read off a sworn affidavit from Laura Pettite saying that her husband had relayed the conversation. Judge Nelson stopped the video, removed the jury from the courtroom and chastised the prosecutors for disobeying his orders.

“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.

Lead defense attorney Rusty Hardin asked for a mistrial and was granted it. Hearings will follow on whether the government can even attempt to prosecute Clemens again given the law against double jeopardy. But they should give up this case anyways.

As much as Clemens cheated and lied about it under oath, Congress and the U.S. government has bigger fish to fry. Yes, I know that the government has to ensure that people cannot just take the stand and lie but hasn’t enough time and money been wasted trying to make a mockery of a man who’s legacy has been thoroughly damaged? In the court of public opinion, Clemens was convicted a long time ago. There’s no reason to do so in an actual courthouse.

All in all, the prosecutors were as big of an embarrassment as Clemens was in this case. Defense attorney Hardin is laughing himself to sleep at how easy this was. The prosecutors gave him a mistrial on a gold platter. I’m sure Clemens will walk out of the courthouse relieved at not facing jail time, but his reputation is forever tarnished and a mistrial isn’t going to change that.

Daily Sports Roundup 1/7/08

Big day in sports today as Clemens filed a lawsuit and the BCS National Championship game is tonight among others

Clemens Files Suit Against McNamee: The saga continues as Roger Clemens filed a defamation lawsuit against former trainer Brian McNamee. The suit alleges that at fifteen different points while speaking to George Mitchell, McNamee said things that were “untrue and defamatory”. McNamee has responded, through his lawyer of course, that he will file a counter-suit against Clemens, claiming that Clemens’s remarks in his “60 Minutes” interview are a “total lie”. Clemens also released a tape of the phone conversation between Clemens and McNamee. From my perspective, this is a great move by Clemens. Taping and releasing the conversation makes it seem as if the phone call was not to speak about the situation, but rather to catch McNamee in a lie. McNamee never admits to lying about Roger using steroids, but does say “Tell me what you want me to do. I’ll go to jail. I’ll do whatever you want”. Remind you of someone? Greg Anderson, Barry Bonds’ former trainer, has sat in jail cell for months for refusing to speak with federal investigators. This situation is different though, as McNamee would go to jail if he said that he lied to George Mitchell in his investigation. If McNamee takes the stand and says that he injected Clemens with steroids, he doesn’t go to jail.

After waiting a month to really take a stand, Clemens did it today and this story is not going to go away. The greatest pitcher of my generation is accused of using steroids. I have tried to stay as partial as possible while looking at the evidence. After originally believing that Clemens used steroids, my opinion is changing and I now believe that Clemens is innocent. Apparently there aren’t many people like me as in an ESPN SPORTSNATION Poll, more than 57% believe that Clemens used steroids, 25% believe Clemens is innocent, and the final 18% are undecided. The congressional hearings that will be held on January 16th will be extremely interesting in seeing if either person changes his position. After todays’ whirlwind of news, I doubt that either is going to adjust there stance. The one other question I am wondering is whether Chuck Knoblauch and Andy Pettitte, both asked to speak in front of congress, will risk going to jail. If Clemens used steroids, I believe that both of those players saw it. Steroids weren’t exactly being hidden in clubhouses. If both Knobluach and Pettitte take the stand and say Clemens is innocent, that is only going to increase my belief in Clemens. Continue reading “Daily Sports Roundup 1/7/08”

Daily Sports Roundup 1/6/08

Sunday is always a pretty slow day in sports, but there are a couple of interesting stories that made news today. Here they are:

Wild Card Games: The final two wild card games of the NFL Playoffs are today. The New York Giants visited Tampa Bay while the Tennessee Titans travelled to San Diego. In the first game today, the Giants defeated Tampa Bay 24-14 behind a strong outing by Eli Manning. The Buccaneers stadium was rocking, but three costly turnovers helped Eli and the Giants escape with the win. Manning completed 20 of 27 passes for 185 yards and 2 touchdowns while Bucs’ quarterback Jeff Garcia completed only 20 of 39 pass attempts for 207 touchdowns while throwing one touchdown and two interceptions. The Buccaneers chose to shut down the Giants’ running game, which they did as New York averaged only 3.3 yards per rush. Unfortunately, in shutting down the run, Tampa gave Manning the opportunity to pass. He took that opportunity and made the best of it, leading the Giants to the victory. New York will face Dallas in the Divisional Playoffs next weekend. The AFC Wild Card game takes place tonight. Vince Young will need to play a great game to overcome the Chargers’ balanced attack. If the Chargers win, they will face Indianapolis in the next round, but if the Titans win, Tennessee will face New England.

Arenas Hopes To Return This Year: Washington Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas is hoping to play basketball again this year, but doesn’t want to risk further injury. Arenas had surgery last April and then another surgery in November to repair his knee. Though he is progressing, Arenas is still months away from returning. He wants to get back this year, but realizes that it may not be in his best interest to do so. “I have to protect the rest of my career, too, so I won’t jeopardize that for just 15 games if I’m not 100 percent,” he said Saturday “If it’s aching, if I’m out here practicing and it’s swelling up then, I’ll see you next year.” Continue reading “Daily Sports Roundup 1/6/08”