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Baseball star Clemens charged with perjury in steroid testimony

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • NEW: Pitching legend's lawyer says Clemens knew "this day would come"
  • Clemens denies allegations and says he wants his day in court
  • Charges include obstructing Congress, false statements and perjury
  • In 2008, Clemens testified that he didn't use performance-enhancing drugs

Sports Illustrated: How Clemens will defend himself

(CNN) -- Retired baseball star Roger Clemens says he's looking forward to fighting perjury and other charges brought against him Thursday and again denied he ever used performance-enhancing drugs.

A federal grand jury in Washington has charged the seven-time Cy Young winner with perjury, obstruction of Congress and making false statements over his insistence to a House committee that he never used steroids or human growth hormone.

"I never took HGH or steroids. And I did not lie to Congress," Clemens said in a statement posted on the website Twitter. "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."

Clemens left baseball in 2007 after 24 seasons in the major leagues, during which he played for the Boston Red Sox, Toronto Blue Jays, Houston Astros and New York Yankees. He was the first pitcher to win seven Cy Young awards, ranks third in all-time career strikeouts with 4,672 and ninth in all-time wins with 354.

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The charges stem the longtime pitcher's February 2008 appearance before the House Oversight and Government Affairs Committee. Both Clemens' former trainer, Brian McNamee, and a report by former Sen. George Mitchell stated that Clemens had used banned substances at points in his career.

Rep. Henry Waxman, then the committee's chairman, said perjury and false statements "are serious crimes that undermine the ability of Congress to perform its duties."

"Whether he committed a crime will be up to the judge and jury," the California Democrat said in a written statement. But he said the investigation, which Waxman and then-ranking Republican Tom Davis requested, "are important actions to protect the integrity of the Committee's oversight work in this area and to help end the use of steroids and performance enhancing drugs in professional sports."

During the February 2008 hearing, Clemens vehemently denied using performance-enhancing drugs. Steroid use "is totally incompatible with who I am and what I stand for," he told lawmakers, adding, "I cannot in good conscience admit to doing something that I did not do, even if it would be easier to do so."

The six-count indictment, returned by a grand jury in Washington, states that Clemens "did corruptly endeavor to influence, obstruct, and impede" the congressional investigation into the use of steroids by him and other major league players. It includes three counts of making false statements to investigators about the use of human growth hormone, steroids and vitamin B12, and two counts of perjury stemming from his appearance before Waxman's committee in 2008.

That testimony put him at odds with McNamee as well as one-time Yankees teammate Andy Pettite, who told a league investigation led by Mitchell that Clemens admitted using human growth hormone. A few weeks later, the committee's leaders asked the Justice Department to launch a perjury probe of Clemens.

Clemens' lawyer, Rusty Hardin, told reporters Thursday that the pitcher expected the indictment.

"Roger has known from the very beginning that if he chose to publicly deny the accusations in the Mitchell report, that this day would come," Hardin said. He said he warned Clemens he would be called before the House committee if he issued that denial, and if he repeated it in front of Congress, he would likely face perjury charges

If he had used steroids, "All he had to do was just admit he did it and move on like Andy," Hardin said. But he added, "I think people will understand sometimes the government's wrong."

"Now that they are ready to move forward, we are too, and we'll let everything get taken care of in the courts," he said.

Clemens told investigators that Pettite -- who admitted to using human growth hormone on two occasions himself -- must have "misheard" him, and he accused McNamee of lying "to save his own skin" as federal authorities began probing the use of steroids in major sports. He filed a defamation suit against his ex-trainer in late 2008.

Clemens said the shots he recieved from his trainer were vitamin B12, which is an allowed substance. But the trainer never had access to B12 and never injected him with such supplements, the indictment states.