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Roger Clemens indicted for alleged lies to Congress

WASHINGTON — Seven-time Cy Young winner Roger Clemens was indicted by a federal grand jury Thursday for allegedly lying to Congress about using performance-enhancing drugs.

A six-count indictment alleges Clemens, 48, obstructed a congressional inquiry with 15 statements made under oath in 2008, including denying he used steroids and human growth hormone.

No date has been set for an arraignment. A trial could be held later this year or early next year.

Clemens and his ex-trainer, Brian McNamee, testified before a House committee and contradicted each other.

McNamee told federal agents and the committee he injected Clemens more than a dozen times with steroids and HGH from 1998-2001.

Clemens maintains McNamee was lying and said so before the committee.

"I couldn't tell you the first thing about it," he testified when asked about HGH. "I never used steroids; never performance-enhancing steroids."

Earl Ward, one of McNamee's attorneys, said he was pleased with the indictment.

"As far as we're concerned, it's vindication," he said. "This all came about, ultimately, because of Roger's arrogance."

In a statement via Twitter, Clemens said, "I never took HGH or steroids. And I did not lie to Congress.

"I look forward to challenging the government's accusations and hope people will keep an open mind until trial. I appreciate all the support I have been getting. I am happy to finally have my day in court."

The U.S. Attorney's Office did not comment.

Clemens' lawyer, Rusty Hardin, said prosecutors made a plea offer but were rejected. He declined to disclose details.

Clemens, whose 354 wins over 23 seasons are ninth all time and 4,672 strikeouts third, faces a combined maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and a $1.5 million fine. But under U.S. sentencing guidelines, he would probably face 15-21 months in prison.

Hardin said he is aware many people have suggested Clemens should have followed in the steps of other players and pre-empted the indictment by admitting he took performance-enhancing drugs.

"But the problem is nobody ever talks about what he should have done if he didn't do it," Hardin said. "And he didn't do it, and he's adamant about that and always has been."

In his testimony to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Clemens said: "I've been accused of something I'm not guilty of. … I have never taken steroids or HGH."

Longtime friend and teammate Andy Pettitte told investigators Clemens confided to him that he used HGH. Clemens said Pettitte was wrong.

"I believe Andy has misheard" the conversation, Clemens said. He said he talked to Pettitte about a TV show in which three older men used HGH to get back their quality of life.

Henry Waxman, D-Calif., the committee's chairman at the time of the testimony, said the indictment will "help end the use of steroids and performance-enhancing drugs in professional sports."

Tom Davis of Virginia, the top Republican on the committee at the time, called the indictment "a self-inflicted wound."

"Clemens was not under subpoena," he said. "He came voluntarily. He wanted to come to the committee and clear his name. And I sat there in the office … and said, 'Whatever you do, don't lie.' I did not want to refer this to (the Justice Department), but we didn't have any choice."

The Clemens case is the second referral the congressional committee made to the Justice Department regarding performance-enhancing drugs. Padres infielder Miguel Tejada pleaded guilty to making misleading statements regarding his knowledge of them in 2005.

Meanwhile, Barry Bonds, who set records with 762 homers for his career and 73 in 2001, is under federal indictment for allegedly telling a grand jury he never knowingly used performance-enhancing drugs. This year, Mark McGwire, ninth with 583 and second with 70 in 1998, admitted using them.

Clemens was mentioned 82 times in the Mitchell report, MLB's official report on the use of performance-enhancing drugs compiled by former Senator George Mitchell and released in 2007. Much of the information came from McNamee, the former Yankees strength and conditioning coach.

Clemens sued McNamee for defamation, but a federal judge dismissed most of the claims last year. McNamee has filed a defamation suit against Clemens that is pending.

Fast facts

The statements

Some of Roger Clemens' alleged lies about his use of performance-enhancing drugs and vitamin B-12 (a legal supplement) and dealings with Brian McNamee, left, his former trainer, during a deposition to a U.S. House committee on Feb. 5, 2008, and a hearing before it eight days later (broken down by the six counts of the indictment):

Obstruction of justice

• Said four times he didn't use human growth hormone or steroids

• Said he never spoke to McNamee about HGH or steroids

• Said twice he wasn't injected with B-12 by McNamee

• Said needles with B-12 were lined up in the Yankees clubhouse after games

• Said Yankee teammate Andy Pettitte misheard or misremembered him talking about HGH use in or around 1999

• Said he didn't know McNamee was injecting his wife

• Said he had "no idea" former Sen. George Mitchell wanted to talk to him for his 2007 report on performance-enhancing drugs in Major League Baseball

False statements, HGH

• Denied using HGH

False statements, steroids

• Denied using steroids

False statements, B-12

• Said McNamee injected him with B-12

Perjury, HGH

• Denied receiving HGH from McNamee

Perjury, steroids

• Denied receiving steroids from McNamee

Roger Clemens indicted for alleged lies to Congress 08/19/10 [Last modified: Friday, August 20, 2010 7:20am]
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