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Judge sets new trial for Clemens in April

From Paul Courson, CNN
Former MLB pitcher Roger Clemens is accused of lying to Congress about using performance-enhancing drugs.
Former MLB pitcher Roger Clemens is accused of lying to Congress about using performance-enhancing drugs.
  • NEW: U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton allows a new trial for allegations against Roger Clemens, starting April 17
  • Clemens is accused of lying to Congress in testimony to the House in 2008
  • A mistrial was declared in July after inadmissible evidence was shown in court
  • Clemens has denied using performance-enhancing drugs while a pro baseball player
  • Roger Clemens
  • Perjury

Washington (CNN) -- A U.S. district court judge granted federal prosecutors a new trial for former Major League pitcher Roger Clemens on Friday, setting a start date of April 17.

Clemens is accused of lying to Congress when lawmakers investigated the illicit use of steroids in professional baseball.

The case against Clemens -- involving one count of obstruction of Congress, three counts of making false statements and two counts of perjury -- was declared a mistrial in July after evidence previously ruled inadmissible was shown in court.

The issue that caused the mistrial involved a video clip of a televised congressional hearing from 2008 in which a congressman referenced an affidavit from Laura Pettitte about purported steroid use encountered by her husband, former New York Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte, Clemens and other players.

U.S. District Court Judge Reggie Walton ruled in pre-trial proceedings that Laura Pettitte's testimony about steroid use was uncorroborated and inadmissible. Most of the extended video had played for the jury, however, before the judge realized it included the prohibited discussion.

Prosecutors subsequently asked for a new trial for Clemens, saying they did not intend to air the clip in question.

"This was a mistake, a regretful mistake," government attorney David Goodhand said Friday, urging Walton to reject a defense motion to dismiss the indictment and prevent a new trial.

Walton blasted prosecutors Friday, declaring, "I would hate to believe they just blatantly disregarded rulings that I made, but it's hard for me to reach any other conclusion."

Defense attorneys accused prosecutors of showing the clip deliberately, and asked Walton to dismiss the six-count indictment.

"No doubt this was a calculated effort to make an end run around this court's ruling," Clemens defense attorney Michael Attanasio said.

"The government's use of this particular exhibit was premeditated," the defense team wrote in a critique given to Walton last week, and was "not as innocent as the government suggests."

The charges stem from Clemens' 2008 testimony before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, during which he denied using anabolic steroids.

Clemens has continually denied using performance-enhancing drugs during his professional baseball career.