Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Former Major League Baseball pitcher Roger Clemens, accompanied by his attorney Rusty Hardin, left, arrives at federal court in Washington, Monday, June 11, 2012, for his perjury trial. (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari)
Baseball: Roger Clemens acquitted on perjury charges
MLB » Jury finds former pitcher not guilty of lying to Congress in doping inquiry.
First Published Jun 18 2012 03:00 pm • Last Updated Jun 19 2012 12:06 am

Washington • Roger Clemens was acquitted Monday on all charges that he obstructed and lied to Congress in denying he used performance-enhancing drugs to extend his long career as one of the greatest and most-decorated pitchers in baseball history.

Fierce on the pitching mound in his playing days, Clemens was quietly emotional after the verdict was announced. "I’m very thankful," he said, choking up as he spoke. "It’s been a hard five years," said the pitcher, who was retried after an earlier prosecution ended in a mistrial.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

This case was lengthy, but the deliberations were relatively brief. Jurors returned their verdict after less than 10 hours over several days. The outcome ended a 10-week trial that capped the government’s investigation of the pitcher known as "The Rocket" for the fastball that he retained into his 40s. He won seven Cy Young Awards, emblematic of the league’s best pitcher each year, in a 24-year career with the Red Sox, Yankees, Blue Jays and Astros.

The verdict was the latest blow to the government’s legal pursuit of athletes accused of illicit drug use.

A seven-year investigation into home run king Barry Bonds yielded a guilty verdict on only one count of obstruction of justice in a San Francisco court last year, with the jury deadlocked on whether Bonds lied to a grand jury when he denied knowingly taking performance-enhancing drugs.

A two-year, multicontinent investigation of cyclist Lance Armstrong was recently closed with no charges brought, though the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency filed formal accusations last week that could strip the seven-time Tour de France winner of his victories in that storied race. Armstrong denies any doping.

Late Monday, as the jury foreman read the acquittal on the final count, Clemens bit his lower lip and rubbed a tear from his eye.

Clemens, family members and his lawyers took turns exchanging hugs. At one point, Clemens and his four sons gathered in the middle of the courtroom, arms interlocked like football players in a huddle, and sobbing could be heard. Debbie Clemens dabbed her husband’s eyes with a tissue.

Accused of cheating to achieve and extend his success — and then facing felony charges that he lied about it — Clemens declared outside the courthouse, "I put a lot of hard work into that career."

His chief lawyer, Rusty Hardin, walked up to a bank of microphones and exclaimed: "Wow!"


story continues below
story continues below

Hardin said Clemens had to hustle to get to court in time to hear the verdict. "All of us had told Roger there wouldn’t be a verdict for two, three or four days, so he was actually working out with his sons almost at the Washington Monument when he got the call that there was a verdict."

Prosecutors declined to comment as they left the courthouse. But the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a written statement, "The jury has spoken in this matter, and we thank them for their service. We respect the judicial process and the jury’s verdict."

Clemens, 49, was charged with two counts of perjury, three counts of making false statements and one count of obstructing Congress when he testified at a deposition and at a nationally televised hearing in February 2008. The charges centered on his repeated denials that he used steroids and human growth hormone during a 24-year career produced 354 victories.

The first attempt to try Clemens last year ended in a mistrial when prosecutors played a snippet of video evidence that had previously been ruled inadmissible.

Still, Monday’s verdict is unlikely to settle the matter in sports circles as to whether Clemens cheated in the latter stages of a remarkable career that extended into a period in which performance-enhancing drug use in baseball was thought to be prevalent. Clemens himself told Congress at the 2008 hearing that "no matter what we discuss here today, I’m never going to have my name restored."

A crucial barometer comes this fall, when Clemens’ name appears on the Hall of Fame ballot for the first time.



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.