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Houston Astros shortstop gets probation in sports drug scandal

  • Story Highlights
  • Miguel Tejada gets year of probation, $5,000 fine, community service, must pay costs
  • Court: He lied to Congress about knowledge of use of performance-enhancing drugs
  • He had pleaded guilty to charge stemming from appearance before Congress
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(CNN) -- Houston Astros shortstop Miguel Tejada was sentenced Thursday to a year of unsupervised probation for lying to Congress about his knowledge of Major League Baseball players using performance-enhancing drugs.

In February, Miguel Tejada pleaded guilty to a charge stemming from his appearance before Congress.

In February, Miguel Tejada pleaded guilty to a charge stemming from his appearance before Congress.

Tejada also was ordered to pay a $5,000 fine, serve 100 hours of community service and pay court costs of $25.

Tejada, 34, pleaded guilty in February to a misdemeanor charge stemming from his appearance before Congress.

In halting English, Tejada apologized at the sentencing to Congress, the court and "especially the kids."

After pleading guilty last month in federal court, the Dominican shortstop wiped tears from his eyes as he told reporters, "I made a mistake, and now I know how serious a mistake that I made.

"I'm sorry to my family, to the Congress, to the Houston Astros," he said. "I apologize to the whole United States." He said America had given him a chance to become who he is, and "the last thing that I want to do is let this country down."

Although the government had said leniency was appropriate, prosecutor Steven Durham said in the sentencing hearing that when a member of Congress "asks somebody a question, it must be answered truthfully. There are no options."

U.S. Magistrate Judge Alan Kay started and ended the hearing with a lecture to Tejada, noting how he had brought himself out of poverty in the Dominican Republic, but telling him "your achievements do not minimize the seriousness" of withholding information from Congress.

"They [the lawmakers] were trying to protect you and your fellow players," the judge said, referring to the investigation of illicit steroid use in baseball.

Kay declined to order drug testing as a condition of probation for Tejada, but told him, "Make sure you don't get into trouble again."

Tejada and his attorneys then spent nearly a half-hour at the court's probation office, firming up details of what's expected of the shortstop in the time ahead.

Tejada was not accused of using performance-enhancing drugs, his lawyer, Mark Tuohey, has said.

But he admitted lying to congressional investigators during an August 26, 2005, interview in which he said he "had no knowledge of other players using or even talking about steroids or other banned substances," according to a prosecution statement issued at the time of his guilty plea.

After the December 2007 Mitchell Report on steroid use in baseball, which appeared to contradict Tejada, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform asked the Justice Department to investigate whether Tejada "made knowingly false statements to the committee."

According to court documents, Tejada admitted he discussed steroids and human growth hormone with a teammate in 2003, while he was with the Oakland Athletics. He also admitted that he bought more than $6,000 worth of HGH from the teammate, but he added that "he had second thoughts and ... simply discarded them," the documents state.

"Although Tejada was not placed under oath, the [congressional] committee staff advised Tejada of the importance of providing truthful answers," federal prosecutors said in a statement released after Thursday's sentencing.

Tuohey has said he did not believe Tejada's plea would affect his immigration status. Tejada is a permanent resident alien.

Tejada's guilty plea came days after another major league star, Alex Rodriguez -- the New York Yankees' third baseman since 2004 -- admitted he used a "banned substance" during the 2001-2003 seasons.

Sports Illustrated reported that Rodriguez tested positive for steroids in 2003, when he was playing for the Texas Rangers.

CNN's Paul Courson contributed to this report.

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