Roger Clemens charged with perjury in steroid case

Roger Clemens charged with perjury in steroid case

WASHINGTON – A federal grand jury on Thursday indicted seven-time Cy Young Award winner Roger Clemens for allegedly lying to Congress about using steroids.

A look at the indictment charging Roger Clemens with one count of obstruction of Congress, three counts of making false statements and two counts of perjury in connection with his February 2008 testimony before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. The indictment (PDF)

Clemens faces charges of obstruction of Congress, making false statements and perjury. The New York Times first reported the indictment.

Clemens and his former trainer, Brian McNamee, testified under oath before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform in 2008. McNamee, who cooperated with federal authorities and with baseball’s Mitchell report on performance-enhancing drugs in baseball, said Clemens had used steroids, while Clemens flatly denied having ever used them and accused McNamee of lying.

A few weeks later, the FBI opened a perjury probe against Clemens, a seven-time Cy Young Award winner. The federal grand jury began hearing testimony more than 18 months ago.

Clemens’ attorney, Rusty Hardin, said by telephone from Houston that he had just learned of the indictment and would wait to decide whether to comment.

The case was assigned to U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton, the judge who presided over the perjury and obstruction trial of Vice President Dick Cheney’s former chief of staff, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby. No date has been set for Clemens’ initial court appearance.

In a defiant appearance before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee in 2008, Clemens said, “I’ve been accused of something I’m not guilty of … I have never taken steroids or HGH.”

Longtime Clemens friend and pitching star Andy Pettitte told congressional investigators that Clemens confided to him that he had used human growth hormone. Clemens said Pettite’s assertion wasn’t correct.

“I believe Andy has misheard” the conversation, Clemens responded. He said he had simply mentioned to Pettite a TV show about three older men who used HGH to get back their quality of life.

McNamee, a one-time New York City cop and former close friend of Clemens, said in the Mitchell report that he injected the 354-game winner with steroids and HGH at least 16 times in 1998, 2000 and 2001. He repeated the claim under oath before Congress, but Clemens, also under oath, adamantly denied the allegations.

Some of McNamee’s evidence is believed to include bloody gauze, vials and needles that he claims contained steroids and Clemens’ DNA. McNamee kept the decade-old evidence in a FedEx box at his New York home and handed it over to investigators after the probe began.

Clemens sued McNamee for defamation, but a federal judge in Texas dismissed most of Clemens’ claims against McNamee last year. Earlier this month, a federal appeals court affirmed the decision.

McNamee has filed a defamation suit against Clemens in federal court in New York.

A spokesman for the ranking Republican member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee said the indictment was welcome.

“Whether it’s a Member of the Cabinet, a CEO or a professional athlete, if there is evidence that someone has intentionally misled a congressional investigative committee, they should be prosecuted to the fullest extent possible. There is no mechanism to justify lying to Congress,” said Kurt Bardella, a spokesman for U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif.

Clemens follows home run king Barry Bonds as baseball stars from the last decade to be indicted for making false statements about using performance-enhancing drugs. Bonds, who was indicted in 2007 on charges he made false statements to the grand jury in the BALCO investigation, is expected to stand trial in March.

Clemens, 48, struck out 4,672 batters over 24 seasons, winning the Cy Young Award seven times with the Boston Red Sox, Toronto Blue Jays, New York Yankees and Houston Astros. He appeared in the World Series six times, winning championships with the Yankees in 1999 and 2000.

Clemens last pitched in the major leagues in 2007, with the Yankees in the American League Division Series.

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