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Archive for Friday, February 29, 2008

FBI opens Clemens inquiry

Probe centers on pitcher’s testimony

February 29, 2008

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— The FBI has begun investigating whether Roger Clemens lied to Congress when he denied taking performance-enhancing drugs.

FBI agents in Washington opened the case a little more than two weeks after Clemens and Brian McNamee, his former personal trainer, testified at a House committee hearing Feb. 13, each accusing the other of lying.

"The request to open an investigation on 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 spokeswoman Debra Weierman said Thursday.

The inquiry announcement came one day after two leaders of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee asked Attorney General Michael Mukasey to investigate Clemens. The probe could result in charges against Clemens of perjury, making false statements or obstruction of justice. Lawmakers did not ask for a similar investigation of McNamee.

Clemens, a seven-time Cy Young Award winner, testified under oath that he never used steroids or human growth hormone. McNamee said he injected Clemens with performance-enhancers at least 16 times from 1998-01.

"We've always expected they would open an investigation," said Clemens' lead lawyer, Rusty Hardin. "They attended the Congressional hearing. So what's new?"

IRS Special Agent Jeff Novitzky, a key member of the government's prosecution in the BALCO drug cases, attended the hearing and watched from the second row.

Barry Bonds, a seven-time MVP, was indicted in November on perjury and obstruction of justice charges stemming from his 2003 grand jury testimony in which he denied knowingly taking illegal performance-enhancing drugs.

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