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Clemens Defense Violated Rules on Juror Contact, Judge Says

The judge overseeing Roger Clemens’s perjury case said the government can talk to former jurors from the ex-pitcher’s mistrial after some of them were contacted by the defense team in violation of court rules.

U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton in Washington said today that he will send a letter to the 16 former jurors alerting them to the government’s request and reminding them that they don’t have to speak to anybody. Walton told the ex-jurors he was aware that an investigator for Clemens’s lawyers might have contacted them without court approval.

“Now, in connection of the fact that Mr. Clemens will be retried, government counsel has acted in compliance with the rules of this court and has requested my permission to speak with you,” Walton said in a redacted version of the letter attached to his order.

Walton said he wasn’t ready to rule on the government’s request that any notes taken by the investigator be turned over to the prosecution. He gave the U.S. until Sept. 30 to file a motion to compel the notes be given to prosecutors.

Bill Miller, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney in Washington, declined to comment, citing the judge’s gag order in the case. Clemens’s lawyer Michael Attanasio declined to comment on the ruling.

Barred Evidence

Last week, Walton decided Clemens can be retried because he couldn’t determine, based on the record, that prosecutors intentionally caused a mistrial in July by showing jurors barred evidence. The government was two days into presenting its case at the time. Walton, ruling from the bench, set jury selection for April 17.

The seven-time Cy Young Award winner is charged with one count of obstructing a congressional investigation, three counts of making false statements and two counts of perjury in connection with a congressional probe of ballplayers’ alleged use of performance-enhancing drugs. If convicted on all charges, he faces as long as 30 years in prison and a $1.5 million fine.

The charges stem from Clemens’s statements to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform in February 2008, in an interview with committee staff and later at a public hearing. Clemens, under oath, denied ever using anabolic steroids or human growth hormone, according to the indictment.

The case is is U.S. v. Clemens, 10-cr-00223, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington).

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