Hearings begin as Clemens' trial approaches

Hearings begin as Clemens' trial approaches

Hearings begin as Clemens' trial approaches
WASHINGTON -- Government prosecutors and lawyers for Roger Clemens were to return to the courtroom Friday for a pretrial hearing as they prepare for next week's restart of the former star pitcher's trial on federal perjury charges.

The two sides will meet in Judge Reggie Walton's courtroom at the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to address several pretrial motions made by the government. The defense, citing the fact that pretrial motions were completed before the first attempt to try Clemens last July, did not submit any further motions prior to this trial.

Jury selection is scheduled to begin Monday morning, and based on the first trial, will last most of the week. The full proceedings are expected to take four to six weeks.

Clemens, a seven-time Cy Young Award winner who was one of baseball's biggest pitching stars in a 24-year career, was indicted in 2010 on six charges of perjury, giving false statements and obstruction of Congress. The charges stem from his 2008 testimony before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform in which he denied ever using performance-enhancing drugs.

The government also this week submitted its list of exhibits, which again will include DNA evidence and medical waste saved by former trainer and key government witness Brian McNamee that investigators have said link Clemens directly to steroid use. Another exhibit expected to be introduced is an audio tape of Clemens' deposition to Congress prior to his testimony, evidence that was going to be read to the jury by someone else during the first trial because the audio hadn't been released by the House of Representatives at the time.

In the first attempt to try Clemens last July, Walton declared a mistrial on the second day of testimony after the government showed inadmissible evidence to the jury.

It was in pretrial motions that Walton declared that any reference to an affidavit from Andy Pettitte's wife, Laura, stating that her husband had told her of Clemens' use of performance-enhancing drugs would be off-limits unless the defense tried to impeach Andy Pettitte's credibility on the witness stand, which defense lawyer Rusty Hardin said in his opening statement he would not do.

But in the early stages of laying the foundation for its case against Clemens, the government allowed a video with a transcript of the 2008 Congressional hearing to play before the jury that included mention of Laura Pettitte's affidavit, sending the trial into limbo. Within hours, Walton granted a defense motion to declare a mistrial.

Among the issues the government were to ask the judge to consider in Friday's hearing was a motion to instruct the defense to refrain from asking the jury to put themselves in Clemens' shoes and making other references the government considers jury nullification, and another that he rule that the mistrial should not be an issue that comes before the jury because it is irrelevant.

In its motions filed March 19, the government also noted several issues with the defense's opening statement in July that it now asks Walton to bar from the retrial. Those include the mention of possible penalties Clemens is facing, the contention that none of his baseball heroes ever took performance-enhancing drugs and statements that Clemens had given speeches to children about staying away from PEDs.

The defense filed notice the same day explaining why it was not submitting any pretrial motions for this trial.

"There have been no changed circumstances justifying new or more extensive pretrial evidentiary rulings in the eight months since the first trial was cut short because of the government's conduct," defense lawyers wrote.

John Schlegel is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.