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“For the government to lose this case after obtaining a very mild victory against Bonds,” McCann said, “would invite a lot of questions about the appropriateness of these prosecutions.”

In addition, the Justice Department recently closed, without bringing any charges, an expensive two-year, multi-continent investigation of possible drug use by Lance Armstrong, the cyclist who beat cancer and won the Tour de France seven straight times.

The essence of the Clemens case remains the same: The seven-time Cy Young Award winner is charged with perjury, false statements and obstruction of Congress for telling a House committee under oath, in both a public hearing and in a deposition with committee staff, that he hadn’t used steroids or human growth hormone during his 24-season career.

Defense lawyers indicated at last year’s brief trial they would question if it was proper for lawmakers to investigate whether Clemens used performance-enhancing drugs, but that argument didn’t draw much sympathy from Walton.

The key witness for the government will be Clemens‘ former strength trainer, Brian McNamee, who says he injected Clemens with steroids and human growth hormone, and even kept the used needles that will be entered as scientific evidence at trial.

Clemens‘ lawyers will seek to discredit McNamee, who provided drugs to several professional baseball players and has acknowledged he hasn’t always told the truth about Clemens‘ drug use and other matters. McNamee initially denied giving Clemens drugs, before admitting to federal agents he injected the pitcher. The defense team has said that the trainer fabricated the evidence.

Harder to discredit will be another prosecution witness, Andy Pettitte, a former Clemens teammate who recently came out of retirement to mount a comeback attempt with the New York Yankees. Pettitte says that Clemens, in a private conversation in 1999 or 2000, acknowledged using HGH. Clemens has said Pettitte “misremembers” their conversation.

If convicted on all six charges, Clemens faces a maximum sentence of up to 30 years in prison and a $1.5 million fine. Maximum penalties are unlikely because Clemens doesn’t have a criminal record, but Walton made plain at the first trial that Clemens was at risk of going to jail.

Explaining why he was calling a mistrial, the judge said, “Because if this man got convicted, from my perspective, knowing how I sentence, he goes to jail. And I’m not going to, under the circumstances, when this has happened, put this man’s liberty in jeopardy. He’s entitled to a fair trial; in my view, he can’t get it now. And that was caused by the government.”

Under U.S. sentencing guidelines, Clemens probably would face up to 15 months to 21 months in prison.

The prosecutors from last year’s trial, Steven Durham and Daniel Butler, are returning for the retrial.

Durham, chief of the public corruption unit at the U.S. attorney’s office, also prosecuted baseball player Miguel Tejada. In that case, Tejada pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor of misleading congressional investigators who questioned him about steroids. Butler, who also works in the public corruption unit, successfully prosecuted the case of “D.C. madam” Deborah Jeane Palfrey, who ran an escort service that catered to high-profile clients, including Sen. David Vitter, R-La.

Last August, several weeks after the mistrial was declared, the government added a third assistant U.S. attorney, David B. Goodhand, who works in the U.S. attorney’s office appellate division. Then in February, the Justice Department added two more assistant U.S. attorneys from the office: Gilberto Guerrero, Jr., who works on violent crime and narcotics trafficking, and Courtney G. Saleski, who works on fraud and public corruption.

“The government is doubling down on the trial, trying to get every advantage they can,” said George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley.

Paul Cassell, a former federal judge and associate deputy attorney general, said he didn’t expect much to change from the first case.

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