Jury Acquits Cy Young Award Winner of All 6 Federal Charges
Former baseball star Roger Clemens has been was acquitted on all charges that he lied to and obstructed Congress when he denied using performance-enhancing drugs as a pitcher.
After the jury deliberated recently for almost 10 hours over several days, they returned their verdict of not guilty. The outcome capped a 10-week trial that ended an expensive, five-year investigation into one of the best pitchers in Major League Baseball history.
"I put a lot of hard work into that career," said Clemens, who had to gather himself and hold back tears as he spoke to reporters outside the E. Barrett Prettyman Federal Courthouse in the District. "And, so again I appreciate my teammates who came in and all the e-mails and phone calls. Thank y'all very much."
Just after the verdict was read, the former pitcher and his family engaged in a large group hug. Clemens, 49, was charged with three counts of making false statements, two counts of perjury and one count of obstructing Congress when he testified at a deposition and at a nationally televised hearing in February 2008. The charges focused on his consistent denials that he used steroids and HGH over a 24-year career with the Red Sox, Yankees, Blue Jays and Astros that produced a record seven Cy Young awards.
The government's case leaned heavily on the testimony of Clemens' strength coach Brian McNamee, who testified he injected Clemens with steroids in 1998, 2000 and 2001 and with HGH in 2000.
Clemens' lawyers insisted that his success resulted from an outstanding work ethic and an intense workout program dating back to his teenage years. They admitted that Clemens was injected by McNamee, but the needles contained the anesthetic lidocaine and vitamin B12 and not performance-enhancing drugs.
"I hope those in the public who made up their minds before there was a trial will now back up and entertain the possibility of what he has always said – using steroids and HGH is cheating, and it was totally contrary to his entire career," said Clemens' lead attorney Rusty Hardin.
Later, U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton responded, "Mr. Clemens, you're free to go."
Clemens did not take questions after his statement outside the courthouse. The jury of eight women and four men also declined comment.