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Roger Clemens acquitted on perjury charges: ‘It has been a hard five years’

18th June 2012

MLB pitching great acquitted after jury decides he did not lie to Congress when he denied using steroids

Roger Clemens has been acquitted on all charges by a jury that decided he didn’t lie to Congress when he denied using performance-enhancing drugs.

Jurors returned their verdict on Monday after close to 10 hours of deliberation. Clemens, dressed in a beige suit, blue shirt and tie, showed little outward emotion as the verdict was read, but choked up during brief comments after he emerged from the federal courthouse.

“It has been a hard five years,” Clemens said, as he thanked his wife, family and teammates. “I put a lot of hard work into that career. I appreciate my teammates that came in, and all the emails and phone calls.”

The outcome brings an end to a 10-week trial that capped an expensive, five-year investigation into one of the greatest pitchers in the history of baseball.

Clemens, 49, was accused of perjury, making false statements and obstructing Congress when he testified at a deposition and at a nationally-televised hearing in February 2008. The charges centered on Clemens’ repeated denials that he used steroids and human growth hormone during his 24-year career.

The verdict is the latest blow to the government’s pursuit of athletes accused of drug use, and continues a run of failed prosecutions of public figures by the justice department.

Clemens – one of the greatest pitchers in Major League Baseball history - was charged with one count of obstruction of Congress, three counts of making a false statement and two counts of perjury. He did not take the stand in his own defense during the two-month trial.

This was Clemens’ second trial on federal charges of lying in 2008 to a congressional committee that was investigating drug use in baseball when he said he did not use performance-enhancing drugs. His first trial ended in a mistrial.

Rusty Hardin, his lead attorney, said: “It’s a day of celebration for us. Justice won out.

The current trial has featured 46 witnesses over 26 days of testimony, including Brian McNamee, Clemens’ former trainer, who said he injected Clemens with anabolic steroids and human growth hormone between 1998 and 2001.

McNamee worked with Clemens when the pitcher played for the Toronto Blue Jays and later the New York Yankees.

McNamee testified that he kept needles, cotton balls, a broken steroid ampoule and other medical waste from injections for Clemens. Prosecutors have said some of the items contained Clemens’ DNA and traces of steroids.

Defense lawyers painted McNamee as a liar, and argued that Clemens’ success was due to hard work.

Known as “The Rocket,” Clemens played for four teams over a 24-year career and won 354 regular season games. He is a seven-time winner of the Cy Young Award for best pitcher.


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