U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton was not certain of a fair trial, in the case of former-major league baseball star Roger Clemens' perjury trial, and ruled a mistrial on the second day of the case. His ruling was handed down after prosecutors showed jurors inadmissible evidence against his orders.
Prosecutors claimed the problem could be corrected with instructions to the jury to "disregard the evidence."
Walton wasn't convinced of the prosecution's assurance and said, "We've got a man's liberty at interest."
The jurist followed that up by reasoning," I don't see how I can un-ring the bell."
According to ESPN legal analyst Lester Munson, the "government failed 100%" by not removing evidence it was instructed to dispose from the case. The "blunder" could lead to acquittal through the mistrial and legal loophole.
The piece of evidence in question refers to video testimony from former New York Yankees teammate and good friend, Andy Pettitte, who said Clemens told him in 1999 or 2000 conversation that the pitcher used performance-enhancing drugs during his career.
Walton stopped the prosecutor's playing of the video of the 2008 testimony before Congress and removed the jury from the Washington courtroom.
Clemens is accused of lying to Congress during that testimony and claims Pettitte misheard him.
Walton said prosecutors erred when they showed jurors evidence that was previously unusable in the case.
Prosecutors wanted to use Pettitte's wife Laura as a witness to corroborate Pettitte's statement, but the motion was denied because Clemens never said it directly to his wife.
Pettitte said he told his wife about the conversation with Clemens the day it happened but Walton still considered it second-hand information.
Being denied a chance to use this key piece of the prosecution's evidence was a big blow to their case.
"The ability with Mr. Clemens with this jury to get a fair trial with this jury would be very difficult, if not impossible," said Walton.
This was the second time prosecutor's have gone against Walton's orders. Yesterday, assistant U.S. attorney Steven Durham said Pettitte, Chuck Knoblauch and Mike Stanton used human-growth-hormones.
Before that, the prosecution came out with guns blazing on the first day of the trial.
In their opening statement, the prosecution showed off photos of medical waste that they claimed contained both anabolic steroids and Clemens DNA. They claimed the needles and bloody cotton balls would prove Clemens was lying when he testified before Congress.
Clemens attorney, Rusty Hardin, claimed the prosecution's evidence was manufactured by Clemens former trainer, Brian McNamee.
After today's ruling, Walton told the jurors to leave and said, "The case has already cost a lot of taxpayer money."
Walton reschedule a Sept. 2 hearing to determine if a new trial is necessary.
Potential witnesses who might have called to testify in the case included a Who's Who of former big league players.
Clemens and his attorneys remain under a gag order.