A federal grand jury indicted Roger Clemens on Thursday on charges of making false statements to Congress about his use of performance-enhancing drugs.
An indictment was returned to U.S. Magistrate Judge Deborah A. Robinson of the District at a brief hearing shortly after 1:30 p.m. The indictment charges 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.
If convicted, he faces 15 to 21 months in prison.
“Our government cannot function if witnesses are not held accountable for false statements made before Congress,” said U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Mahen Jr. in a statement. “Today the message is clear: If a witness makes a choice to ignore his or her obligation to testify honestly, there will be consequences.”
In February 2008, Clemens, the seven-time Cy Young Award winner who pitched for the Red Sox, Blue Jays, Yankees and Astros, and Brian McNamee, his former trainer, contradicted one another in testimony before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform about whether Clemens had used banned substances.
The hearing came after McNamee had linked Clemens to banned substances in George Mitchell’s report on baseball players’ use of performance-enhancing drugs. Clemens alleged that McNamee was lying; McNamee reached a deal with federal authorities to avoid prosecution for steroid distribution.
The Post reported in February 2009 that McNamee, in testimony at the hearing, said he injected Clemens nearly 40 times with steroids and human growth hormone from 1998 to 2001.
McNamee’s attorneys have said that their client gave federal investigators syringes, gauze pads and other items that he claimed he used to inject Clemens. He stored the items in a FedEx box in his bas****t.
Clemens and his defense team have long challenged McNamee’s credibility, saying the former trainer has lied about the pitcher’s alleged drug use. They also have said that McNamee may have cooked up the evidence.
On Aug. 12, a federal appeals court in Houston refused to reinstate a defamation lawsuit Clemens filed against McNamee. In a 2 to 1 ruling, a panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with a Houston federal district judge’s 2009 dismissal of most of Clemens’s claims against McNamee.
In an e-mail, Rusty Hardin, Clemens’s lawyer, said “we have heard nothing from the government.”
Source: Washington Post