Grand jury could charge Clemens with perjury

Published 4:46 am Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Nearly a year after Roger Clemens told Congress he did not use performance-enhancing drugs, a federal grand jury is being asked to determine whether he should be indicted on charges of lying under oath.

The grand-jury probe was confirmed to The Associated Press on Monday by two people who were briefed on the matter. Both spoke on condition of anonymity because grand jury proceedings are supposed to be secret.

Congress asked the Justice Department to look into whether the seven-time Cy Young Award winner lied last February, when he testified under oath at a deposition and a public House hearing that he never took illegal performance enhancers.

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That contradicted the sworn testimony of his former personal trainer, Brian McNamee, who said under oath that he injected Clemens with steroids and human growth hormone. Clemens last played in the major leagues in 2007, with the New York Yankees.

The Justice Department brought the case to a grand jury — which is based in Washington — after an 11-month FBI inquiry. A grand jury allows prosecutors to get sworn testimony from witnesses and collect documents. The investigation is being led by Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel P. Butler, the prosecutor in the D.C. Madam case.

‘‘It’s standard operating procedure for a prosecutor, and it’s probably been convened for a while,’’ Clemens’ lead lawyer, Rusty Hardin, said through spokesman Patrick Dorton.

The grand jury’s involvement first was reported by

Barry Bonds, baseball’s career home run leader and a seven-time MVP, is scheduled for a March trial on charges he lied to a federal grand jury in 2003 when he denied knowingly using performance-enhancing drugs. That is part of a separate investigation in California that also ensnared star Olympic sprinter Marion Jones, who was sentenced to six months in prison for lying about her steroid use.

McNamee’s lawyer, Richard Emery, said his client has not been called as a grand jury witness or received a subpoena. But Emery does expect McNamee to testify again.

‘‘We will be cooperating. We’ve been in contact with the federal authorities for a year and a half,’’ Emery said. ‘‘We look forward to the results, which we fully expect will show that Brian has been telling the truth all along.’’