The New York Times and the Washington Post, among others, have both reported that earlier today Roger Clemens was indicted by a Washington, D.C. federal grand jury. WFAN.com has obtained a copy of the indictment, which charges Clemens with six felonies. While obviously innocent until proven guilty, the indictment does not bode well for Clemens, who has steadfastly asserted his innocence everywhere, including in front of Congress.
THE CHARGES AGAINST ROGER CLEMENS
Roger Clemens is charged with six felonies, the first of which is Obstruction of Congress. The indictment alleges 15 separate statements made by Roger Clemens in either his sworn testimony before Congress on February 13, 2008 or his sworn deposition testimony of February 5, 2008. This charge is that Clemens knew that he made false and misleading statements to Congress relating to, among other things, his use of steroids, anabolic steroids and HGH. Also, a key part of the case is that Clemens testified before Congress that “Strength Coach #1” (who we all know as Brian McNamee) injected him with Vitamin B12 and lidocaine, not steroids and/or HGH.
Counts Two, Three and Four all relate to allegedly false statements made by Clemens. Count Two specifically discusses HGH, Count Three specifically discusses steroids and, interestingly, Count Four specifically discusses Vitamin B12. Obviously in Counts Two and Three, Clemens, under oath, had denied using either HGH or steroids. In Count Four, and this will be a huge part of his defense, Clemens has testified under oath that Brian McNamee had only injected him with Vitamin B12. As most of you are aware, McNamee has testified under oath that he never injected Clemens with B12 but, rather, had injected Clemens with HGH or steroids about 40 times.
The final two counts are for perjury. Count Five is for perjury relating to HGH (Clemens testified that McNamee “has never given me growth hormone”) and Count Six is for perjury relating to steroids (Clemens testified that “I have never taken steroids.”).
At five years per felony, the theoretical exposure of Roger Clemens, if convicted on all counts, would be 30 years. The reality, according to the United States Attorney’s office in Washington, D.C., is that Clemens would be facing somewhere between 15 and 21 months in prison and a fine of up to $1.5 million.
The distinction, other than from a legal definition of the crime perspective, between false statements and perjury, is almost one without a difference for the common understanding of what happened. The three false statement counts all pertain to deposition testimony that Roger Clemens gave, on February 5, 2008, to a United States House Committee staff member before the actual Congressional hearing. The two perjury counts both pertain to testimony that Roger Clemens gave, on February 13, 2008, in front of a Congressional Committee and a national TV audience.
WHAT IS THE DEFENSE FOR ROGER CLEMENS?
Clemens defense will probably be what it has always been: deny, deny, deny. A jury will have to find, as it relates to what was in the syringes that McNamee injected Clemens with, that it was steroids or HGH and that Clemens KNEW it was steroids or HGH (and not Vitamin B12 as Clemens has maintained) and thus lied to the authorities about it. In this writer’s opinion, that will be a major part of the entire case.
Also, and this will be for a later time, it says here that Andy Pettitte may very well be dragged into this whole mess, probably against his wishes.
Another superstar on the brink of being dragged down by the steroids scandal. This will be an expensive prosecution and an expensive defense.