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Federal Judge Rules Roger Clemens Will Face New Trial

One-time baseball pitching star Roger Clemens is not off the hook.

A federal judge ruled Friday that Clemens must stand trial a second time for allegedly lying to a Congressional committee about steroid use. In July, Judge Reggie Walton declared a mistrial due to prosecutorial misconduct.

In the opening days of the trial, prosecutors introduced videotape evidence Judge Walton had ruled inadmissible because it was hearsay and prejudicial to Clemens. Clemens' defense team argued Friday that the prosecution purposefully introduced the evidence in order to gain a tactical advantage. For their part, prosecutors apologized for their error but said it was accidental. They said the video had not been redacted because of the "press" of the workload in preparing for the case.

Judge Walton stopped short of finding that the prosecution acted intentionally. "I am very troubled by what happened," he said on Friday, but, the judge added that even if he were to conclude that the prosecution's conduct was intentional, it would not be enough to bar a second trial under the standard laid out by the Supreme Court. In fact, Judge Walton could find no reported federal case that had ever met that standard.

Because the prosecution's error caused the need for a second trial, the judge said that "fundamental fairness" might require the government to pay a portion of Clemens' legal fees the second time around, and Walton said would consider a defense request to do that. A new trial has been set for April 17.

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Nina Totenberg is NPR's award-winning legal affairs correspondent. Her reports air regularly on NPR's critically acclaimed newsmagazines All Things Considered, Morning Edition, and Weekend Edition.