Roger Clemens under indictment perjury

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Clemens testifies in front of Congress on February 13, 2008. The indictment stems from his testimony that day. Credit: AP Photo, Pablo Martinez

Update (5:25 p.m.): A federal grand jury has filed an indictment against former Yankee pitcher Roger Clemens facing a federal indictment for perjury in connection with his 2008 testiomy to the U.S. Senate. The 19-page indictment, unveiled today, charges the disgraced hurler with three counts of making false statements and two counts of perjury. While the Department of Justice will not seek to arrest Clemens, the Rocket’s legal troubles are just beginning.

Michael S. Schmidt of The Times has more details on the incidents out of which the indictment arises:

Clemens’s allegedly false testimony came in a public hearing in which Clemens and his former trainer Brian McNamee, testifying under oath, directly contradicted each other about whether Clemens had used the banned substances.

“Americans have a right to expect that witnesses who testify under oath before Congress will tell the truth,” United States Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. said in a statement announcing the indictment. “Our government can not function if witnesses are not held accountable for false statements made before Congress. Today the message is clear: if a witness makes a choice to ignore his or her obligation to testify honestly, there will be consequences.”

The congressional hearing at the heart of the indictment came just two months after McNamee first tied Clemens to the use of the substances in George J. Mitchell’s report on the use of performance-enhancing drugs in baseball. After Mitchell released the report, Clemens claimed McNamee made up the allegations.

Clemens joins Barry Bonds as the two most prominent former players to face perjury charges in connection with statements concerning PED use. Bonds is scheduled to go to trial in March, and the two will appear together on the 2013 Hall of Fame ballot.

The Feds, as Schmidt reports, investigated Clemens after Congressional leaders raised concerns over his testimony. Still, there are elements of a witch hunt here as Congress and the Justice Department have gone after only the two biggest names to be accused of drug use. If convicted, Clemens could face a sentence of 15-21 months, but my guess is that this case doesn’t get that far. Because Clemens allegedly never failed a drug test, the government’s evidence rests on the testimony of Brian McNamee, a former Clemens confidante who turned informant to avoid federal drug charges. McNamee claims to have old syringes that reportedly tested positive for both steroids and Clemens’ DNA.

The Rocket this afternoon issued a statement via Twitter denying the charges. “I never took HGH or Steroids,” he said. “And I did not lie to Congress. 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.”

Click through for an embedded copy of the indictment, courtesy of Maury Brown’s Biz of Baseball. The unnamed Strength Coach #1 is widely believed to be Brian McNamee.

United States v. Roger Clemens

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  • Pat D

    I’ll be interested to see if they actually have enough physical evidence to convict him.

    Because I’m pretty sure a good defense lawyer could rip Brian McNamee to shreds on the witness stand.

    • Zack

      That.

      Since when is blood samples stored in a coke can for 3 years considered “evidence”?

      • Sweet Dick Willie

        If it has Clemens DNA?

        • RL

          If they weren’t handled and stored properly (can’t see how a coke can could have been), his definse tea will rip that appart, if it’s not thrown out altogether.

          • RL

            If they weren’t handled and stored properly (can’t see how a coke can could have been), his definse tea, team will rip that appart, if it’s not thrown out altogether.

            Fixed. Can’t type today. Besides, I doubt it goes that far. If it does, I’ll be once again extremely disappointed that our congress sees this as something they should be playing such close attention to when we have so many much more important issues to address in this country!!!

            • Pete C.

              Yeah, they do have more important things to worry about. But the guy perjured himself, that can’t be allowed to happen with no consequences.

        • Ed

          On the subject of DNA matches, I just read this article.

          It’s mostly talking about cases where you have multiple DNA samples mixed together and are trying to match them, but it also applies to cases involving degraded DNA samples, as would be the case here.

          The short version is cases with a non-ideal sample, different labs will give different results. In the case mentioned in the article, the a variety of labs gave a huge range of probabilities. On one end was a 1 in 95,000 chance that the sample wasn’t from the person in question. The other end placed the odds at 1 in 3.

          The DNA in this case needs a really good analysis to be certain of anything.

  • Damian

    I just hope that there’s a real case. The Bonds case was hardly an admirable display of charging only what could be proven, which is what prosecutors are supposed to do.

  • steve s

    Congress calling Clemens to testify may have been akin to a witch hunt but committing perjury was something Clemens was in control of 100%. He’s gotten awful advice from from his counsel throughout this process and his attorney should be going down just as hard as Clemens is about to.

    • pete

      I highly doubt Clemens goes down. Thus far there’s not even close to enough evidence to convict.

      • steve s

        The only people who really know what the evidence is are the ones indicting him. The Feds are not about to pursue some unsubstantiated high profile case just to end up with egg on their face. I have little doubt that the Feds think they have a great chance of winning this and have carefully taken the time to develop a winnable case.

        • Zack

          If there was real evidence, I believe it would have been leaked already.

          As of now they have the testimony of McNamee, and a needle that was stored in a coke can for 5 years with Clemens DNA on it- neither of those two are lock down evidence, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the DNA is thrown out.

  • http://twitter.com/j_yankees j_Yankees

    Stop fucking wasting time, money and resources on this stupid witch hunt that people don’t give a rats ass about anymore.

    How about we indict the people on wallstreet that sent our economy into the dumps? How bout that?

    and its perfectly fine for EVERYONE in Congress to lie to our faces about just about everything but when they get lied to they want to throw whoever it is that lied in the slammer and toss the key.

    • hornblower

      The argument for not indicting Clemens has nothing to do with Wall St.
      A public figure who lies to a Congressional Committee should be indicted.

      • http://twitter.com/j_yankees j_Yankees

        i don’t give a fuck. i really don’t and neither should anyone else, IMO.

        it’s a waste of time and money.

      • Mister Delaware

        I hope you get called in front of congress, they question you for 6 hours about masturbation and everything you don’t want to publicly talk about then you eventually get indicted for lying. That would only be slightly more pointless and unjust. And I hate Clemens.

        • Damian

          Clemens was not subpoenaed.

          • Mister Delaware

            You know, you’re right. Does this mean I have to change my hope to hornblower volunteering to talk to congress, under oath, about masturbation? Because I’m will to do that.

            • hornblower

              Clemens volunteered to speak to the House comm. under oath about steroids. He was under no obligation to do so. If he had been called he could have taken the 5th.
              The argument that Congress has more important things to do is nonsense. That committee has jurisdiction in this area and is expected to exercise it.

    • FIPster Doofus

      +22

    • Poopy Pants

      No more politics! Banned!

  • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

    I wonder what Andy will have to do :/

    /obligatory bexy comment’d but no seriously I am wondering’d

    • Pat D

      I’m sure he’ll be a witness.

  • Klemy

    Yeah, Clemens definitely got himself a bit deep on this, but I still can’t help but think this was never something that should have gone to Congress to begin with. Making Clemens testify for this was a huge waste of time from the beginning. Now, they almost seem to be using this to justify their original waste of time and money.

    • Guest

      Am I wrong, or didn’t Roger ask to testify before Congress? I’m guessing I’m wrong. But I remember there being some part of this whole mess where Roger volunteered to put himself on the record.

      • Sweet Dick Willie

        From the ESPN article:

        “Clemens was not under subpoena. He came voluntarily. He wanted to come to the committee and clear his name. And I sat there in the office with [committee chairman] Henry Waxman and said, ‘Whatever you do, don’t lie.'”

        So it looks like we can add “ignoramus” to the list of adjectives describing Roger.

  • Andrew Brotherton

    I think the Mitchell Report period was a waste of money. Baseball is its own entity, and it should have policed itself. Also Bud Selig was just as guilty as any of the athletes and he gets nothing?

    • Mister Delaware

      That’s not true, Selig got something. A contract extension. Justice!

    • Damian

      Bud Selig is guilty of perjury before Congress?

      • Thomas

        Bud Selig is guilty of looking like a used car salesman from the 70s. If congress can’t arrest him for that, then what good are they?

        • Sweet Dick Willie

          We all know what they’re good for…NOTHING!!

      • JohnnyC

        He claimed he had no knowledge of possible steroid usage in MLB until 1997 or 1998 yet also claims that he tried unsuccessfully to get PED testing in the CBA in 1995. So, he tried to get players tested for substances he didn’t even know about until 3 years later.

  • Guest

    Once again, people get in trouble for the cover-up and not the crime.

    People need to learn, just admit it, take your medicine, and move on.

    Or, in Roger’s case: DON’T ask to testify before Congress when you know you will have to lie to them to protect your rep.

  • http://unclemikesmusings.blogspot.com Uncle Mike

    The feds don’t indict someone unless they’re completely sure they can get a conviction. But they’d better have a positive test result, one that can’t have doubt thrown on it. If they do, then their entire case rests on the word of Brian McNamee. That’s like trusting a one-run lead to Kyle Farnsworth. I wouldn’t do it.

    • http://twitter.com/stephen_mr Stephen R.

      “The feds don’t indict someone unless they’re completely sure they can get a conviction.”

      So far from being true I’m finding it hard to believe it was even written.

    • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

      The feds don’t indict someone unless they’re completely sure they can get a conviction.

      The acquitted defendant in the federal drug case I witnessed in court this summer begs to differ.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        It’s not that uncommon for a prosecutor to indict on a fairly weak case (that has a low real probability of conviction) simply to attempt to pressure a defendant into taking a lesser plea out of fear or compel them to talk or provide information on a separate matter not related to the indictment in question.

  • http://unclemikesmusings.blogspot.com Uncle Mike

    Correction: If they DON’T have a positive test, as they claimed they do with Bonds, then their whole case rests on McNamee’s word.

  • Damian

    I wish the Yankees brass would have announced Clemens’s indictment over the Stadium PA like they did his rejoining the team midseason in 2007. Same amount of cheering?

    • Ghost of Scott Brosius

      Suzyn: RAWGERR’S BEENN INDICTED!!!

  • Ed

    Still, there are elements of a witch hunt here as Congress and the Justice Department have gone after only the two biggest names to be accused of drug use.

    While I do agree that it is a witch hunt, it’s not that simple.

    They tried to go after Palmeiro as well. He got off because they could only prove he took steroids at some point after he told Congress that he never did.

    I think the key here is they’re not actually going after people for taking steroids, they’re going after them for committing perjury. I really don’t know, but I’m guessing a perjury conviction would lead to a more significant sentence than a steroid related charge would. The only other explanation I could think of is that they feel perjury would be easier to convict on, but I would think they’d have to prove the steroid charge to prove perjury, so that doesn’t seem right to me.

    Ben, any thoughts on the legal aspects of this?

  • Thomas

    Clemens’s allegedly false testimony came in a public hearing in which Clemens and his former trainer Brian McNamee, testifying under oath, directly contradicted each other about whether Clemens had used the banned substances.

    If this is the reason for the indictment, then shouldn’t McNamee also be indicted, since it is pretty obvious one of them is lying and it just as easily could be McNamee? If McNamee isn’t indicted, it would suggest that congress was biased to begin with, meaning Clemens never got a fair hearing. Thus, making this worthless investigation even more of a waste.

    Oh, I fully believe Clemens lied and took steroid. I just think this is an enormous waste of time.

    • Damian

      McNamee is probably getting immunity here.

      • Thomas

        Exactly, it is going to be a his word vs. your word case. All Clemens’ lawyers have to say is McNamee is lying and congress is going after him, because he is famous.

    • Damian

      And Congress is always biased; that part doesn’t make a difference. Nothing was on the line for Clemens at the hearing. All he had to do was either not volunteer to go or tell the truth. If Clemens takes this to trial it won’t be before Congress, but a jury of his peers.

    • nathan

      Or McNamee took a polygraph or something

      • Thomas

        Not admissible in court.

      • Damian

        The fact of whether someone took or refused to take a polygraph isn’t admissible at trial.

    • Ed

      If this is the reason for the indictment, then shouldn’t McNamee also be indicted, since it is pretty obvious one of them is lying and it just as easily could be McNamee?

      McNamee was granted immunity in exchange for his cooperation in the Mitchell Report / earlier investigations / something like that. The immunity only holds if he told the truth though.

      Because of that, they can’t indict McNamee unless they have a rock solid case against him. They’ll probably only go after him if the case against Clemens brings up solid proof that McNamee lied.

      • Thomas

        Thanks.

  • nathan

    I love it how he is now a former Yankee not former Sox or Blue Jay. Former Yankee. Lol.

    • JohnnyC

      You mean like David Ortiz, aka David Arias, the former Minnesota Twin? Or Manny Ramirez, the Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder?

      • nathan

        Hehe.

  • bonestock94

    Great allocation of resources. I’m typing a petition to impeach all of those involved in this witch hunt. RAB signatures will be essential in getting this passed.

    • JohnnyC

      Clemens will claim he isn’t a U.S. citizen and therefore not subject to American laws. His father was actually Kenyan.

      • pete

        any person whose physical location is within the united states or any of its territories is fully subject to every law applied in his or her region, regardless of race, religion, nationality, sexual preference, or gender.

    • RL

      I’m in!!!

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

      I think people don’t understand how small of a portion of the Congressional calendar this really is. A few dozen hours of hearings is nothing. Congress can totally investigate this and also investigate all the other more important things as well.

  • Januz

    I could actually see Clemens going to jail, if he fights it tooth and nail. Besides a conviction (Or guilty plea) should be enough to keep him out of Cooperstown, and for that reason alone should be reason to support the Goverment

    • pete

      There is no way in hell that I support anything that keeps Roger Clemens out of the Hall of Fame

      • Sweet Dick Willie

        Hey, Shoeless Joe Jackson isn’t in.

        • Ghost of Scott Brosius

          And that’s a travesty.

  • Yank the Frank

    Roger just mis-remembered.

  • http://fmylife.com Bryan
  • Mike HC

    A bunch of lying assholes are going/went after a lying idiot. Who cares?

  • Ross in Jersey

    Am I the only one who thinks it’s absolutely hilarious that the first thread after the Rose-inspired anti-political rule is sort of a political topic?

    LO freaking L!

    • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

      No, you’re not. It amuses me too.

  • Dan

    If everyone who lied in the halls of congress was held accountable, there would be no incumbants running this fall. Contempt of congress should not be a crime, it should be a way of life!

    • Damian

      Not to be a stickler about this sort of thing, but the “Speech and Debate” clause of the Constitution gives Congresspeople immunity for whatever they say in session, so long as they aren’t taking bribes or committing treason.

      Well, I guess that’s being a stickler.

  • Jose Canseco the Truth

    Suzyn cried as soon as she heard the news.

  • Mike

    Amazing how the federal government insists upon wasting our money going after guys like Bonds and Clemens, and yet the finger wagging Rafael Palmeiro who actually failed a drug test gets off scott free. Amazing!

    • Zack

      The failed test came after he testified.

      • Mike

        Um, you really think he used for the first time after he testified? Please! The government simply goes after the bigeest fish. If you indict one, indict them all. Better yet, indict none of them. The whole thing is a joke. There’s a lot more important stuff for the government to worry about. Stop wasting our money already.

  • Poopy Pants

    But…I thought…no…more…politics???

    RAB needs to get on the same page.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

      You didn’t read the full text of The Rose Law*. It only bars political discussion from the Open Threads and Game Threads. It’s still permissible in standard single topic threads (as long as it’s on topic) or in the Off-Topic Thread.

      (*Don’t be hard on yourself about not reading the full text of The Rose Law. After all, Rose didn’t read the full text of the Consititution, and that’s what started this whole brouhaha in the first place.)

      • http://www.twitter.com/jordan_smed JGS

        Am I the only one that likes “Rose Rule” rather than “Rose Law”?

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

          If we change the name from “The Rose Law” to “The Rose Rule” now, at 5:50 pm, it means that it wasn’t a real law for the 2 hours before that. Because we changed the name now.

          /Rose’d

          • Mike HC

            “There will be no TALK of politics in any Open Thread or Game Thread on River Ave. Blues.”

            Technically, since Rose, nor did anybody, talk, about politics (they wrote about it), nobody has broken “Rose’s Law” yet (I like that better, like Meagan’s Law, its not, “The Meagan Law”)

            Only in 150 years when that oversight is corrected will “Rose’s Law” be official. Until then, people will wrongfully assume that Ohio is a state, er, Rose’s Law is in effect.

        • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

          I think Rose Law sounds very… well… political.

  • YankeesJunkie

    The government is doing what it does best, spending crap loads of money on shit no one wants and even more important no one really cares about.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

      I am genuinely curious as to exactly how much money all these Congressional steroid hearings end up costing in total.

      This specific matter, though, is different; Roger’s being indicted for lying to Congress. Even if you think the original steroid hearings were a waste of taxpayer money, it’s probably a good thing that they’re now using taxpayer money to indict and prosecute someone for alledgedly perjuring himself in front of Congress.

      We want to enforce the standard that whenever you testify to governmental bodies of inquiry, you have to tell the truth (even if the testimony in question itself is frivolous and irrelevant).

      • YankeesJunkie

        What about Rafael Palermo he was tested positive and never charged when he said he never did steroids. What is difference? Clemens should be punished if he was perjuring in front of Congress, but Congress has much better things to do with there time, but that is why a good amount of them are going to be out of a job in 3 months.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

          Palmeiro probably should be indicted as well, but there’s no Brian McNamee to serve as a witness against Palmiero, so that’s a harder case to prosecute. That positive test isn’t proof that he lied to Congress because it came after his testimony. He could claim he told the truth then and started juicing afterwards.

          • YankeesJunkie

            The government is dealing in subjects they should keep out of and worry about other problems. Did he perjure and cheat, most likely. Does he deserve Congress prosecuting him and him going to jail? No. What good does it do if he goes to jail. There are people who have done much worse and will never see jail time.

            • Zack

              Perjury is perjury, regardless of the reason why he’s there.

              • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

                That.

              • Sweet Dick Willie

                Perjury is committed in almost every court case.

                One guy says “he did it”, and the other guy says “No I didn’t.”

                Obviously, one of them is lying.

                • Zack

                  And if someone does that under oath, that’s perjury. That’s why many defendants do not take the stand.

                  • Sweet Dick Willie

                    Disagree.

                    When a defendant doesn’t testify, it’s usually because 1) his counsel feel the prosecution didn’t prove its case, or 2) his counsel feels that the prosecution could trip him up on cross examination.

                    The reason OJ didn’t take the stand wasn’t because he was afraid of perjuring himself.

                    If you’re looking at life for a murder offense, fear of perjuring yourself won’t be the reason you don’t take the stand.

            • Damian

              Congress isn’t prosecuting him. The Justice Department, the body which prosecutes people for breaking federal laws, is prosecuting him.

      • http://www.mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

        I’d still consider it a waste because their evidence is the word of one man, who is far from trustworthy. If there was more proof I can see going after him for lying, but do they have any proof he’s lying and McNamee is telling the truth?

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

          That’s a good argument: that it’s a waste of time to indict him for perjury because it’s an unwinnable case.

          I defend their right to indict him in the abstract, though. Lying to Congress should be treated as a very serious act that is prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

  • Pat D

    This could be considered a political issue, but obviously it’s something involves the Yankees in a cursory sort of way, since Clemens pitched for the Yankees and everything. Love how ESPN showed footage of him only with the Yankees. I’m sure their excuse is because that’s who he last pitched for.

    Also, as you can see from my first post (3:37 PM) and Joe’s post of no more political talk in the game thread (3:55 PM), this article was posted before the rule change.

    • pete

      Why would they focus on him while not with the Yankees? He could only have ever done steroids while playing for or somehow otherwise associated with the Yankees, because they are the only team with a big enough market to pay their players enough to take steroids. Also, they’re the only team whose pre and post-game spreads include fully loaded syringes

  • pete

    In my opinion, Roger Clemens should never have been in a situation in which he was allowed to speak with Congress about steroids. That being said, he did, and so did MacNamee. One of them lied. Lying to Congress is perjury. Perjury merits an indictment. Period.

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  • Ghost of Scott Brosius

    The essential point is that if you plan to use the supposed sanctity of Congress to validate yourself, which is what Clemens wanted to do by testifying their, you have to tell the truth. If it’s clear that you did not, you absolutely have to be prosecuted. Otherwise, the entire point of Congressional testimony goes out the window.

    Now, you can make the argument that by unnecessarily meddling in very public issues that don’t pertain to Congress, Congress has opened itself up to being lied to. That’s probably true. But it doesn’t alter the main point: perjury at that level cannot simply be tolerated without consequence.

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