Lawyers for Roger Clemens urged a federal judge on Friday to dismiss the perjury charges against him, arguing that the conduct of prosecutors was so egregious that it forced them to seek a mistrial just two days into testimony.
Clemens, winner of seven Cy Young awards, was being prosecuted on charges of lying to Congress about taking performance-enhancing drugs when a federal judge declared a mistrial on July 14 because prosecutors presented barred information to jurors.
U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton of the District’s federal court then asked both sides to present arguments about whether he should permit a second trial of Clemens on charges of perjury, obstruction of Congress and making false statements.
In court filings Friday, the former pitcher’s attorneys argued that retrying Clemens would violate his rights against double jeopardy, which protects defendants from being subjected to endless prosecutions. To win their argument, the lawyers have to show that federal prosecutors sought to provoke them into seeking a mistrial. They argue that prosecutors did just that because their case was going badly.
“The Government had its day in Court and squandered it with misconduct that irretrievably wasted time, money, and the opportunity for a one-time, fair resolution of these charges,” the lawyers wrote.
Federal prosecutors declined to comment Friday. They are expected to argue in coming weeks that they made an inadvertent error that should not cost them another chance at retrying Clemens.
The mistrial was declared after they played video of congressional testimony that included information that the judge had blocked from jurors. Prosecutors apparently had not checked the videos for such barred material before playing them to the jury.