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Clemens' defense attorneys push judge to drop case

By Paul Courson, CNN
  • Baseball legend Roger Clemens wants charges dropped
  • His defense team files additional rationale to dismiss the case
  • A federal judge has scheduled a hearing to consider how to resolve the case
  • The judge declared a mistrial last month after inadmissible evidence was shown in court

Washington (CNN) -- Baseball legend Roger Clemens is hoping to pitch a no-hitter against prosecutors, who are hoping a judge will again put him on trial for allegedly lying to Congress.

Lawyers for the former New York Yankees pitcher filed late Friday a sharply worded critique of prosecutors for their attempt to apologize for showing the jury evidence previously ruled inadmissible.

The judge declared a mistrial last month after the evidence was presented in court.

"The government's use of this particular exhibit was premeditated," the defense team wrote, and "not as innocent as the government suggests."

At issue is a televised congressional hearing from 2008, and an exchange between a lawmaker and the wife of a former Clemens teammate, Andy Pettitte.

The judge had ruled in pre-trial proceedings that the wife's testimony about steroid use was uncorroborated and inadmissible.

Yet most of the extended video had played for the jury before the judge realized it included the prohibited discussion.

Defense attorneys pounced on the revelation as a deliberate move by prosecutors and have asked the judge to dismiss the indictment.

"This was a critical video clip for the government, featuring a strident accuser of Mr. Clemens quoting what is widely (but wrongly) thought to be corroboration of his guilt," the defense wrote Friday.

Clemens is fighting a six-count indictment accusing him of lying to Congress as lawmakers investigated the illicit use of steroids in professional baseball. He has denied using performance-enhancing drugs during his professional baseball career.

U.S. District judge Reggie Walton has scheduled a hearing next week to consider how to resolve the case. The defense filing Friday quotes Walton, angry during a bench conference July 14 after the video was played, that "I don't particularly like making rulings and lawyers not abiding by those rulings."

Another surprise followed in the days after Walton's decision to declare a mistrial. Defense lawyers sent a number of autographed baseballs to security officers working at the federal courthouse, reportedly in appreciation of their escorting Clemens through a heavy gaggle of media as he arrived and left the building.

The U.S. Marshals Service has confirmed the private security guards accepted the gifts in violation of their contract, but has yet to decide whether the contractor's proposed punishment against those involved would settle the controversy. Details of that proposal have not been made public.