Roger Clemens indicted on perjury charges

Roger Clemens is sworn in prior to testifying

Roger Clemens is sworn in prior to testifying before the House Oversight and Government Reform committee about performance-enhancing drug use in baseball. (Feb. 13, 2008) (Credit: AP)

Roger Clemens was indicted by a federal grand jury Thursday on charges that he lied about his use of illegal performance-enhancing drugs before Congress two years ago.

The U.S. attorney's office said the former Yankees pitcher faces between 15 and 21 months in prison if he is convicted of the charges, which include one count of obstruction of Congress, three counts of making false statements and two counts of perjury.

Clemens responded to the news of the indictment by turning to his Twitter page to once again deny the accusations made by former trainer Brian McNamee in the Mitchell Report that he injected the pitcher with steroids and human growth hormone.

"I never took HGH or Steroids. And I did not lie to Congress," Clemens wrote. "I look forward to challenging the Governments 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."

Clemens' lawyer, Rusty Hardin, said, "Roger is looking forward to his day in court. He is happy this has finally happened. We have known for some time this was going to happen. We'll let everything get taken care of in court."

Clemens and McNamee told their conflicting recollections under oath at a congressional hearing in February 2008, with testimony from Andy Pettitte supporting McNamee's accusations.

Pettitte, who was interviewed by the grand jury, Thursday declined to comment through a Yankees spokesman after the Yankees' 11-5 win over the Tigers.

Pettitte, in his affidavit to Congress, spoke of a conversation he had with Clemens in 1999 or 2000 in which Clemens told him he had taken human growth hormone. Clemens famously told Congress that Pettitte "misremembers things," a moment that is referenced in the 19-page indictment entered Thursday.

The indictment, which does not include much new information, is filled with quotes from Clemens about steroids and human growth hormone given under oath before Congress.

Two weeks after that congressional hearing, the ranking members of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform asked the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate whether Clemens - and not McNamee - committed perjury under oath when he denied any use of illegal drugs.

Nearly 30 months later, that investigation has led to an indictment.

"Our government cannot function if witnesses are not held accountable for false statements made before Congress," U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen said 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."

Inside the Yankees' clubhouse, Clemens received mostly support from many of his former teammates.

Jorge Posada said he still is "very good friends" with Clemens, adding that he plans to "support him, be there for him . . . Hopefully everything will be all right."

Lance Berkman, who was teammates with Clemens on the Houston Astros from 2004-06, described Clemens as an "older brother."

"I don't care what happens. I love the guy," Berkman said. "I feel bad for him, his family. He's a big boy. He'll face up to whatever it is. But it doesn't change my opinion of him at all."

Phil Hughes added, "I don't look at him any differently."

Derek Jeter, who is good friends with Clemens, did not make himself available for comment in the clubhouse after yesterday's win.

Manager Joe Girardi, who played with Clemens on the Yankees, declined to comment, saying he wants to wait "until all is said and done" before giving his thoughts.

Although this was a most significant step in the legal process, the end still might be a ways away. Barry Bonds, for example, was indicted by a federal grand jury on perjury and obstruction of justice charges related to the BALCO case. That occurred in November 2007, and Bonds' trial is scheduled for next March.

With AP



Read full Clemens indictment

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Baseball videos

advertisement | advertise on newsday