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Clemens Repeats Denials to Congress

Associated Press Published: February 8, 2008

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Roger Clemens said he told Congress exactly what he's been saying, over and over again, in various settings, ever since the Mitchell Report came out.

This time, though, the seven-time Cy Young Award winner was speaking under oath.

Wearing a pinstriped gray suit instead of a pinstriped New York Yankees uniform, Clemens delivered his most meaningful denial of drug use yet Tuesday, meeting behind closed doors for five hours with lawyers from the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

"I just want to thank the committee, the staff that I just met with. They were very courteous," Clemens said in brief remarks after his sworn deposition. "It was great to be able to tell them what I've been saying all along - that I've never used steroids or growth hormone."

It was the first time Clemens faced legal risk if he were to make false statements. Home run king Barry Bonds, another player linked to steroid use, was indicted in November on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice for telling a grand jury in 2003 that he didn't knowingly take performance-enhancing drugs.

In the 1 1/2 months since former Senate majority leader George Mitchell released his report on drug use in baseball, Clemens strongly and repeatedly denied what his former personal trainer, Brian McNamee, said - in statements by his lawyers, in a written statement, in a video statement, during a taped TV interview and in a live news conference.

This time, Clemens spoke with staffers from the same House panel that - after the Mitchell Report came out - asked the Justice Department to look into whether 2002 AL MVP Miguel Tejada lied when he told committee investigators in 2005 that he never took performance enhancers and had no knowledge of other players using or talking about steroids. The FBI's field office in Washington is handling that inquiry.

"Roger hasn't declined to answer a single question since this matter began, and he was completely forthcoming," one of Clemens' lawyers, Lanny Breuer, told The Associated Press.

Clemens, Breuer said, "answered every question that was posed to him today and we very much appreciate the committee giving him that opportunity."

Clemens' private testimony came the day after his Yankees teammate and workout partner, Andy Pettitte, gave a deposition to committee staff for 2 1/2 hours. Both players' interviews were there in preparation for a Feb. 13 public hearing expected to focus on McNamee's allegations in the Mitchell Report that he injected Clemens more than a dozen times with human growth hormone and steroids in 1998, 2000 and 2001.

Clemens acknowledged he received injections from McNamee, but he said they were for vitamin B-12 and the painkiller lidocaine. His repeated rejection of contents in the Mitchell Report drew Congress' attention.

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