on March 1, 2008 by in Uncategorized, Comments (0)

FBI begins perjury probe on Roger Clemens testimony

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The FBI has begun investigating whether baseball great Roger Clemens lied to the U.S. Congress when he denied using performance-enhancing drugs like steroids, law enforcement officials said on Thursday.

The investigation began a day after the Democratic chairman and the ranking Republican on the House of Representatives Oversight and Government Reform Committee requested the probe in a letter to U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey.

“The request to open an investigation into the congressional testimony of Roger Clemens has been turned over to the FBI and will receive appropriate investigative action by the FBI’s Washington field office,” FBI spokesman Richard Kolko said.

Another federal law enforcement official confirmed the FBI was investigating.

The officials were unable to predict how long the investigation would last or whether it would result in criminal charges being brought against Clemens, one of the greatest pitchers in the history of baseball. Lying to Congress carries a maximum punishment of five years in prison.

In their letter, chairman Henry Waxman, a California Democrat, and Rep. Tom Davis, a Virginia Republican, wrote, “We believe that his testimony in a sworn deposition on February 5, 2008, and at a hearing on February 13, 2008, that he never used anabolic steroids or human growth hormone, warrants further investigation.”

Clemens disputes his inclusion in a recent report on performance-enhancing drug use in baseball conducted by former Senate Democratic leader George Mitchell that named more than 80 former and current players suspected of having used steroids, human growth hormone or other banned substances.

‘CONTINUE TO FIGHT’

Clemens’ attorney, Rusty Hardin, said the committee’s decision was “unwarranted and not supported by the facts.”

“Roger will continue to fight these false allegations with every ounce of strength he has,” Hardin said in a statement.

Clemens in his testimony denied claims by his former trainer who told Mitchell investigators the pitcher had used performance-enhancing drugs.

At the hearing, Clemens also was confronted with a sworn statement by former teammate and longtime friend Andy Pettitte that Clemens told him in 1999 or 2000 that he had used human growth hormone.

“I think he (Pettitte) misremembers,” Clemens told lawmakers.

The FBI also has been investigating whether another baseball player, four-time All-Star Miguel Tejada, lied when he told the same committee in 2005 that he never used performance-enhancing drugs and had no knowledge of other players using them. Tejada was among those named in the Mitchell report.