Roger Clemens case folds on Cummings video
Without ever stepping into the courtroom, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, it turns out, was inadvertently at the center of U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton’s decision to declare a mistrial Thursday in Roger Clemens' perjury trial. Or, at least, it was the use by prosecutors of a 2008 video of Cummings that was to blame.
During the baseball star's trial prosecutors played a video of the Baltimore Democrat in a congressional hearing in which he quotes from an affidavit provided by Laura Pettitte. Pettitte, the wife of Clemens’ teammate Andy Pettitte, testified that her husband told her that Clemens admitted to using a human growth hormone.
The problem is Walton had prohibited Laura Pettitte’s testimony from being used in the trial.
“There are rules that we play by and those rules are designed to make sure both sides receive a fair trial,” Walton told the jury, according to the Associated Press. Because prosecutors broke those rules, the ability for Clemens to get a fair trial “with this jury would be very difficult if not impossible.”
Clemens had been charged with perjury and obstruction of justice. The former all-star pitcher for the New York Yankees testified under oath before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee in 2008 that he never used illegal performance-enhancing drugs. Cummings served on the committee at that time and is now its top-ranking Democrat.
A spokesman for Cummings declined to comment on the mistrial.