Posted: Aug 30, 2010 2:35 PM by Melissa Canone
WASHINGTON (AP) - Seven-time Cy Young winner Roger Clemens
pleaded not guilty Monday to charges of lying to Congress about
whether he used steroids or human growth hormone.
When asked for a plea by U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton, the
retired Major League Baseball pitcher said in a clear voice: "Not
guilty, your honor."
Wearing a dark jacket, brown pants and tie, Clemens was
in federal court only a few blocks away from where he
swore under oath to a House committee in 2008 that he had not used
Clemens, who pitched for the Boston Red Sox, Toronto Blue Jays,
New York Yankees and Houston Astros, got into a van and left
shortly after his plea without speaking to the throngs of reporters
and television cameras waiting outside the E. Barrett Prettyman
Federal prosecutors didn't believe Clemens' testimony to
Congress, and they subsequently charged him with making false
statements, perjury and obstruction of Congress.
The 48-year-old baseball star had vowed all along to fight the
After hearing Clemens' plea, Walton set an April 5 date for
choosing a jury.
Clemens was being arraigned on three counts of making false
statements, two counts of perjury and one count of obstruction of
If convicted, Clemens could face up to 30 years in prison and a
$1.5 million fine, though under U.S. sentencing guidelines, he
would probably face no more than 15 to 21 months in prison.
Any conviction, however, could catastrophically damage his
reputation, future earning potential and his chances of getting
into baseball's Hall of Fame.
He entered the courthouse well before his hearing, which was
scheduled for a ceremonial courtroom that seats about 300 people.
After spending the morning in the back rooms of the courthouse,
where defendants often go to get their fingerprints and mug shots
taken, Clemens and his attorney, Rusty Hardin, went to the main
cafeteria, where the pitcher sat at a corner table and had a salad
and a bottle of water for lunch.
Clemens was friendly, but declined comment when approached by an
Associated Press reporter. Hardin said plans hadn't changed for the
hearing, but he wanted to honor the gag order imposed by U.S.
District Judge Reggie Walton, who last week ordered interested
rticipants to refrain from making public comments that could have
a material effect on the case.
Clemens' early arrival may have been because he wanted to make a
quick exit after his hearing is over. The New York Daily News
reports that Clemens and his wife, Debbie, planned to fly to Myrtle
Beach, S.C., later Monday to play in the Golf.com World Amateur
Clemens had come to Congress after being mentioned repeatedly in
the Mitchell Report - the damning breakdown of the sport's steroid
problem released in 2007.
In front of a House committee the next year, Clemens said: "Let
me be clear. I have never taken steroids or HGH."
Former Rep. Tom Davis of Virginia, the top Republican on the
House panel at the time, called Clemens' testimony "a
self-inflicted wound. Clemens was not under subpoena. He came
Before his indictment was handed down Aug. 19, Clemens was
offered a plea BR that he turned down, and afterward, he showed
no signs of backing down.
"I look forward to challenging the Governments accusations, and
hope people will keep an open mind until trial," Clemens wrote on
Twitter after the indictment. "I appreciate all the support I have
been getting. I am happy to finally have my day in court."
His day in court figures to be one of many in the near future
for some of baseball's biggest names - now sullied by
steroid-related accusations. All-time home run king Barry Bonds is
scheduled to go on trial in March on charges of lying to a federal
grand jury when he said he never knowingly used
At the hearing in front of the House Committee on Oversight and
Government Reform, Clemens' former trainer, Brian McNamee, said the
pitcher did, in fact, use steroids and HGH. Former teammate Andy
Pettitte also told congressional investigators that Clemens told
him he H used HGH.
Clemens told Congress that Pettitte "misremembers" the
All that testimony figures to be rehashed in a trial that could
irrevocably tarnish the reputation of one of the most dominant
pitchers in history. Over 23 seasons, Clemens recorded 354 wins,
4,672 strikeouts and an ERA of 3.12 - Hall of Fame numbers that
might not land him in the Hall of Fame.