Judge prevents jury from seeing Clemens' contract

Tue May 8, 2012 5:31pm EDT

Former baseball star Roger Clemens leaves Federal District Court in Washington D.C. April 23, 2012. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Former baseball star Roger Clemens leaves Federal District Court in Washington D.C. April 23, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

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(Reuters) - The judge in the perjury trial of former pitching ace Roger Clemens admonished attorneys for both sides on Tuesday about the slow pace of the proceedings, saying jurors were growing bored, USA Today reported.

District Judge Reggie Walton also blocked the admission of Clemens' first major league contract into evidence on the grounds it could prejudice jurors upon seeing the high salaries paid to major league players, USA Today said.

Federal prosecutors are seeking to convict the former pitching great on suspicion of lying to Congress about steroid use as the sport and the courts come to grips with rampant steroid use in the 1990s and 2000s.

"I'm putting you all on warning," Walton told attorneys, according to USA Today. "Those folks (the jury) are fed up ... because they're bored. Somebody's going to pay a price for that.

"I have an obligation to consider the court's time and to make sure these citizens are not having their time wasted and I see that in this case. I've got to move this case along," Walton said.

The trial began April 16.

Defense attorney Rusty Hardin argued against showing jurors Clemens' first contract, saying it would only "inflame the jury."

Clemens made more than $150 million over his 23 seasons, including $140,000 his rookie season, according to Baseball-Reference.com.

The seven-time Cy Young Award winner was indicted in 2010 for perjury and obstruction over 2008 testimony to Congress in which he denied taking steroids and human growth hormones.

This is the second trial. Walton declared a mistrial after two days of arguments during Clemens' first trial in July 2011 when prosecutors showed jurors a video clip that included material he had banned from the case unless the information was raised by Clemens' defense team.

(Reporting by Daniel Trotta; Editing by Paul Thomasch)

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